Last night, at a retreat in Arizona, two people died and another 19 had to be hospitalized after something went horribly wrong at a sweat lodge. Normally, such a story, while interesting, wouldn’t be right for TechCrunch. But there’s a tech angle here.
Apparently, the man who rented the place and threw the retreat, author James Arthur Ray, is also an avid Twitter user. And yes, during the night of the incident he was tweeting about it. Ray later deleted those tweets and all the tweets about the retreat. But, as Mark Maunder discovered, they’re still available in Twitter search. And a couple are pretty interesting:
JamesARay: is still in Spiritual Warrior… for anything new to live something first must die. What needs to die in you so that new life can emerge?
JamesARay: Day 5 of SPW. The Spiritual Warrior has conquered death and therefore has no enemies, and no fear, in this life or the next.
Now, we’re not presuming to know what happened that night, and authorities are still looking into the matter. But those are two very odd things to say on a night when two people died. And deleting them, obviously, does not look good.
The fact that these tweets still exist in Twitter Search is very interesting. Twitter recently updated its terms of service agreement, making it very clear that “your tweets belong to you.” But that ownership for whatever reason, be it technical or otherwise, doesn’t fully extend to the point that when you delete a tweet, it is gone forever.
This isn’t a new issue, but this could bring complete control of your data on Twitter to the forefront. If you delete a tweet, it’s not really gone, so be extra careful about what you say.