Twitter Back in Time

As mentioned on a previous episode, you can download a copy of everything you’ve posted on Facebook and Google+ for archival reasons, because you’re-mad-and-you’re-leaving or just to see how you’ve matured online over the years.

You can do the same thing with Twitter.

Be warned, though — some of those early tweets may be a little cringeworthy if you were still getting used to the 140-character limit or hadn’t quite found your online voice.

To grab a copy of your personal Twitter history:

  1. Log into your Twitter account on the Web and click on the gear-shaped settings icon in the top right corner of the screen.
  2. On the Account settings page, scroll down to the line that says Your Twitter Archive.
  3. Click the Request Your Archive button.

settings2

When your archive is rounded up and ready, Twitter sends an e-mail message to the address associated with your account. Click the link included int he message to download the tweets.zip archive file.

When you unzip the tweets file, click on the index.html file inside the folder. Your Web browser opens up the page locally and displays a long list of your past tweets, along with a clickable graphic you can use to pinpoint tweets from a certain year and month. This can be handy, say, if you wanted to reread your thoughts during a Presidential debate or when you were waiting in line for that midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. The graphic also shows in bar-chart form (below), how many tweets you posted a month and you can quickly see if you’re a binge tweeter or more of a random poster. You can also use keywords to search through your tweets from the page.

twitter_bar_chart

For spreadsheet jockeys, the Tweets archive folder also comes with a .CSV (comma-separated values file) you can open in Excel or another spreadsheet program. Developers can also check out the JavaScript Object Notation file that’s included in the package. According to Twitter’s notes, “The JSON export contains a full representation of your Tweets as returned by v1.1 of the Twitter API.” That same JSON export file is also the one that’s powering the index.html, in case you were wondering.

So that’s how you can relieve you’re Twitter history — all without having to scroll backwards in time. The official Twitter blog has more information here.

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