As you have noticed by now, my blog has been largely neglected for some time. This is due in part to Twitter, which has become my medium of choice through which to voice my thoughts as of late. One of the things which has bothered me about Twitter, however, is the fact that I did not have a way to back up my posts – at least not a way that I was comfortable with. Sure, there are third-party applications that will do the job, but they all require that I give them my Twitter username and password, something which I am reluctant to do. And so my posts – tweets – have remained in the cloud. That is, until tonight. Just a bit ago, I discovered a backup solution so simple that I’m amazed I hadn’t come across it before. Perhaps you know of this already. But if you don’t, my guess is you’ll use it immediately. You can use Twitter’s API to directly download an XML file of your tweets.

http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/TWITTERNAME.xml?count=NUMBEROFTWEETS&page=1

Simply paste the above URL into your browser, changing TWITTERNAME to your Twitter username and NUMBEROFTWEETS to the number of posts you wish to download (starting with the newest and working backwards). When the page loads, you’ll be greeted to an XML file which can be saved to your desktop. Or better yet, create an HTML hyperlink that contains the above URL, right click on said link and choose “save as” to save the XML file to your desktop directly. Either way, you’ll end up with a Twitter archive of your choosing. Awesome.

I love simple solutions.

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Comments

2 Responses to “How to Create a Twitter Archive”

  1. Kim on September 19th, 2009 10:53 am

    I need to create an archive on a website. Does this link auto populate or would I have to manually update the archive periodically?

  2. glaycock on September 19th, 2009 10:18 pm

    Auto populate? Meaning the number of tweets? No, you need to manually enter the number of tweets you’d like to pull down the way it currently works. But no doubt you (or me or someone else) could write a PHP script that would get the number of tweets from Twitter’s API before making the call to pull down all of them. Originally, I just used a ridiculously large number (like 5000) even though I had far fewer tweets. But that stopped working after the latest attacks on Twitter, so I think they changed something. Good luck!

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