Twitter is addictive. Can you remember your first tweet? I was so thankful that mine wasn’t one of those ‘Trying out this Twitter thingy’ tweets. You know, the one that is almost like making a good entrance. Well just how do you go about getting your Twitter Archive?
Finally they have made this really easy to do. I mean, there have been many services out there that offer to get your past tweets, but due to an API limitation, you were only able to get back the last 2,500 tweets from Twitter.
Twitter – The Anatomy of a Tweet
Surely Twitter has to have all your tweets stored somewhere on a backup or something? Well you’re right. They do and now you can go and download them. But first, lets have a look at linking to a specific tweet. On your Twitter timeline, notice the date (expressed in hours for recent tweets) in the top right corner of your tweet?
If you click on that, you will be taken to another page where you will see the tweet as an individual post.
As you probably already know, you can embed the Tweet from this page easily by clicking on the ‘more’ link. But what is even more interesting is the URL in your browser window. It should look something like this.
Do you notice that GUID behind the status part of the URL at the end? Well that makes this link unique and pasting that URL into your browser will take you directly to this tweet. So with this in mind, lets go to the Twitter Archive.
Click on your Twitter Properties. This is the Gear icon located at the top right of your screen. Click on the Settings menu option.
Once the settings page has loaded, you should already be in your Account Tab. At the very bottom of your account settings, you will see the option to download your Twitter tweet archive.
Depending on how addicted you are to Twitter, your tweet archive might be quite sizeable. Within several minutes, you will receive an email with a link to your Twitter archive.
Twitter Archive Contents
Now don’t be fooled into thinking that the archive is only a text file with all your tweets. Twitter went to great lengths to ensure that you have an awesome experience with this too. Clicking on the index.html file will open your entire Twitter history of tweets inside your browser. There is also a data folder that contains your Twitter history in two formats: JSON and CSV exports by month and year.
The Twitter archive also gives you a visual overview of your tweet activity by year. So lets go way back to 2009 when I first started this Twitter ‘thingy’ and see if we can view my first tweet.
Hover over the year and month that shows the first tweet activity. You can see that in June 2009, I wasn’t very active on Twitter. Clicking on the month will load all your tweets for that month. Then all you need to do is scroll down to the oldest date and voilà, your first tweet.
This now allows you to view it on Twitter. You will notice the same unique link that we saw above. This link can now be embedded in a blog post should you wish. So here is my first tweet ever, embedded in this article:
I am trying to stop smoking, but I think Allen Carr is my best bet. It’s really difficult on my own.
— Dirk Strauss (@DirkStrauss) June 9, 2009
Incidentally, I did quit smoking without the help of Allen Carr. I had my last cigarette on the 10th of June 2009 and simply went cold turkey. I guess that makes my smoker-less life coincide with my time on Twitter. Oohrah!