Twitter will soon allow you to download your entire tweet history

in defense of 140 characters why twitter remains relevant feature large

For those heavy tweeters who posts more than hundreds of messages a week, referring back to your previous tweets could be time consuming. Who wants to keeps scrolling down until they find a message published two months ago? No longer will you have to worry about retrieving old tweets manually. The New York Times has learned that Twitter is developing a feature that will enable its users to download and export their tweet history.

“We’re working on a tool to let users export all of their tweets. You’ll be able to download a file of them,” Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive told The NY Times. No words on whether this includes deleted tweets.

Currently, third party services fill this gap that enable Twitter users to simply browse through archived tweets. Snap Bird enables users to view their own tweet history 200 posts at a time, dating back to the first day they joined Twitter. Other services come with restrictions: TwimeMachine allows users to uncover up to 3,200 tweets, while Tweet Scan will show tweets as far back as December 2007.

However, the ability to download other Twitter user’s history is a separate function that Twitter say it is not interested in exploring. “It’s two different search problems,” Costolo said. 

The interest in archiving tweets has captured the attention of not only Twitter users, but it also an objective that the Library of Congress has been struggling with since announcing the time-consuming feat in April 2010. According to the latest data provided by Costolo to the Los Angeles Times, more than 400 million tweets are sent on a daily basis from its 140 million active users. That means it can take just 2 ½ days to send one billion tweets. Compare this to the growth from 50 million Tweets per day in April 2010 and the Library sure took more than it could chew than when it first began the project.

Still, that data (when it is ready) will be made available to anyone with a library card who visits the Library in Washington, D.C.,  a spokesperson told the Niemen Journalism Lab. The tweets will not be made public on the Web, and there will be a six-month delay for internal library use, non-commercial research, public display at the Library, and preservation.