This is never a bad time to back up your data. But for Twitter users, it’s perhaps more urgent than usual, given the platform’s recent… unpredictability. Mass layoffs and resignations, drastic policy changes, and shattered infrastructure do not inspire confidence that Twitter will remain stable far into the future. That’s why it’s worth considering archiving your account for posterity.
Twitter has long offered an account data archiving tool, which currently allows you to copy your data in a machine-readable format that is portable to select from several other services. But while this tool works well for simple backups, the archives it creates are not particularly user-friendly. There is no obvious way to quickly organize the tens and thousands of tweets an archive might contain, for example, or expand the archive for certain types of tweets and embedded media.
Luckily, thanks to the open source community, there are free tools for those who want to take better control of their Twitter archives. They don’t break the process of requesting an archive on Twitter – you’ll need an account archive directly from Twitter to use many of the tools – but they make working with Twitter archives less painful while extending the usefulness of archives, at least in theory.
Note that not all tools are necessarily easy to use for non-developers. Many people require knowledge of Python and other programming languages, and any tool that accesses the Twitter API needs keys to Twitter developer account. (Disclaimer: Don’t give tools access to your account if you don’t fully trust them.) But the tools at least provide basic setup instructions to help beginners get started.
Manage and view Twitter archives
Perhaps the most complete of these is Twitter archive parserwhich aims to fix and/or circumvent some of the more egregious flaws in Twitter’s archiving system (e.g. link shortening, storing tweets in a complex code structure, etc.). The tool converts tweets and even direct messages to markdown, a markup language supported by most content management systems and editors, and HTML – with embedded images, videos, and links.
The Twitter Archive Analyzer goes beyond the basic functionality of the Twitter Archiver by replacing shortened URLs with their original versions, copying images from tweets into a folder (for easier sorting), listing followers and people you follow, and downloading images in their original sizes . (By default, the Twitter archiver changes full-size images in tweets to smaller ones.)
However, if you need a more convenient view of the archive, Twitter archive browser meets all requirements. It displays your entire Twitter timeline from the very first tweet and allows you to view your direct message history offline. As you’d expect, Twitter Archive Browser will remain fully functional even if you delete your Twitter account, showing all the media you’ve uploaded, including images and videos.
Extract URLs, export bookmarks and delete tweets
Another Python based tool, taupe, is more limited in its capabilities than, say, Twitter Archive Parser. But it does exactly what it advertises: it pulls the URLs of your tweets, retweets, replies, quoted tweets, and “likes” from your personal Twitter archive. (Taupe is a loose acronym for “Twinter aarchive URL ParseR”).
Taupe takes the Twitter archive, extracts the URLs corresponding to tweets, retweets and the like, and outputs the results in a spreadsheet format that can be used with other software and services such as the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. While Taupe has limitations—for example, because the Twitter archive format for “likes” doesn’t include a timestamp, Taupe can’t know or show exactly when individual tweets were liked—it’s one of the easiest ways to quickly convert Twitter historical data. into a more convenient format.
In addition to Taupe, there is a descriptive Export your Twitter bookmarks a tool that saves all of your Twitter bookmarks, including photos and videos, as well as fully expanded URLs attached to tweets, in a markdown file. (Twitter archives do not include bookmarked tweets.) And to bulk delete tweets in the archive Twitter archive browser come in handy. It can automatically delete tweets in a certain period of time or containing certain keywords.
People who want a more comprehensive Twitter timeline cropper will want to give it a try Twitter Cleaner, which can automatically remove tweets, retweets and favorites from the archive. Twitter Cleaner can also remove posts from the active timeline, but this requires a Twitter developer account.
Organize certain things, like photos
What if you’re only interested in certain artifacts from your Twitter account, like photos? While it’s not possible to download your account’s entire archive, some tools help you display only the items of interest in that archive.
For example, Twitter Photo Downloader processes your Twitter archive to create a local database containing all your photos. It will work even for image galleries and photos from retweets, but not for videos and GIFs. (You will see one still frame instead of a GIF.) Twitter archive parser even more truncated. The tool converts individual tweets from the archive into PDF files for storage.
Well, those are all the open source tools we found for managing Twitter archives. If we missed something, feel free to send us an email and we’ll see how to add it to the list.