How to download and explore your Twitter archive

By , Dec 19, 2012

Twitter archive teaser

Twitter today rolled out a new feature which allows users to download their entire archive of tweets, images and other data associated with their Twitter account. It’s currently available to a small percentage of users whose language is set to English, but the micro-blogging service pledged to make it available to everyone “over the coming weeks and months”. If the thought of re-visiting your Twitter past has piqued your interest, follow our step-by-step guide which explains how to explore your entire Twitter archive…

Per Twitter’s blog post:

Once you have your Twitter archive, you can view your Tweets by month, or search your archive to find Tweets with certain words, phrases, hashtags or @usernames. You can even engage with your old Tweets just as you would with current ones.

The process is fairly simple and involves requesting an archive via the web interface and clicking on a download link in an email message from Twitter, which will initiate a ZIP archive download containing your information, starting with your first tweet.

Danny Sullivan of MarketingLand has a nice step-by-step guide, here’s the crux:

Request your archive
Log in to the Twitter web interface on your Mac or Windows PC, go to Settings and hit the ‘Request your archive’ button. Because the feature is available only to a small subset of users, there’s a chance you won’t see the button.

Twitter archive (image 001)

It wasn’t live for me at post time and there was nothing I could do about it, but sit and wait until it becomes available to everyone “over the coming weeks and months”.

Check your email for communication from Twitter
Make sure the twitter.com domain is not on your blacklist and that your email client is not classing messages from Twitter as spam. Creating an archive of your Twitter account can take from a few minutes to hours and, in some cases, days.

Twitter archive (image 002)

Your mileage may vary, depending on the amount of information in your Twitter archive, how active you’ve been on the service, how many images you tweeted and other factors. Once it hits your inbox, the message will contain an URL linked to a Twitter page where you can do your download.

Download and unpack a ZIP file
My contacts tweet a lot and most are reporting download file sizes in excess of tens of megabytes, with the most active individuals even mentioning several hundred megabytes. Once your download completes, unarchive the ZIP file to your desktop or elsewhere. Open a ReadMe file inside which contains instructions on the archive structure.

Twitter archive (image 003)

The easiest way to browser your Twitter archive entails opening the index.html file in your browser (it’s in the root folder). This will produce a nicely done web interface which does a good job of letting you navigate your entire history of tweets with efficiency and ease.

Twitter archive (image 004)
You can keyword search, navigate from month to month

Should be suffice to say that Danny was impressed:

This is impressive, far more than I was expecting from Twitter. I figured we’d just get a download of tweets, not a useful way to navigate through them.

Alternatively, you can explore the ‘data’ folder manually. Bear in mind that the folder stores your Twitter archive in two formats: JSON and CSV exports by month and year.

The process is fairly simple and similar to downloading and exploring your Facebook or Google archive, except for Twitter’s way better local web interface.

Please share your experience down in the comments and do inform fellow readers of any issues you may have encountered.

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  • http://twitter.com/Kevinfest Kevin

    Sweet! I’ve always wondered how Twitter never implemented this from the start, but doesn’t matter now. Now I can look back and see just how ignorant I was back in the days.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    I have 6 tweets total lolo

  • Falk M.

    Meh… Adium for the win, stores everything from me and my friends.
    Beat that, Twitter.

    Well, on a more positive note, at least the implemented something useful for once.