The 1 Problem With Twitter's New Image Gallery Feature

With the archive dating back to January 1, 2010, Twitter's latest addition advertises some photos we maybe should have thought twice about


I was a little embarrassed when I visited my Twitter page this morning and found that most of the little thumbnails displayed on the service's newest feature, Recent Images, are of Instagram photos of beer. Worse, I know exactly where and when those pictures were taken: During the part of a week-long trip to Disney World in which I wandered EPCOT trying to sample alcohol from each of the foreign countries. That's clearly something I thought worth broadcasting at the time, but not something I want others to revisit. I'm tempted, now, to quickly snap a few more photos to push those out of the display.

Twitter added Recent Images on Monday. The new feature highlights the four most recent images taken by Twitter members with a new section on their profile pages. This section includes a 'view all' link that clicks through to a 100-image gallery organized, Tumblr archives-like, in chronological order, but only going back to January 1, 2010.

"User galleries on Twitter aggregate the images you've uploaded in your Tweets into an organized page where you can view all of your most recent images," according to a statement that Twitter released. "The images included in user galleries can come from Twitter, yFrog, TwitPic, Instagram and other image sharing services supported in Twitter's details pane."

Apparently the service catalogs not just photos a member has added to Twitter, but also any photos that member has retweeted from those that he or she follows. See that first image in the embed above? I couldn't remember what it was. Clearly not a tall, frosty glass from the Magic Kingdom. It's a photo a Time magazine editor sent out. I retweeted it along with the note, "If I ran TIME, probably wouldn't want this pic getting out." Apparently someone over there thought the same thing; the picture has been deleted.

When I clicked through to the details view of Twitter's new photo feature, I was presented with this message: "Sorry, we couldn't find that media!" Now, we all know that Twitter messages are being archived and that digital trails aren't the easiest to erase, but when someone thinks better of media they've uploaded to the service, they probably don't consider how future features could force that indiscretion to be advertised.

This is a smart addition to the service and one that will allow Twitter to compete with Facebook and Google+ when it comes to photo features, but perhaps the archive should date back not to January 1, 2010, but to August 22, 2011. We could all start with a blank slate.

Image: Twitter.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus


How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin


Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.


How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.


A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple


What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Technology

Just In