Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Twitter archives available: what I tweeted about in September 2008 - and how to get the original URL

Edit 18 Jan 2013: I am sheepishly updating this post after having now read the README.TXT file that comes bundled in the Twitter archive zip. All of the text below is perfectly correct and true but what I hadn't realised from looking at the files themselves is that Twitter's actually made available a pretty decent in-browser way to read and interact with your tweets and get hold of a tweet's web address etc.

So you can download your archive, browse old tweets by month and search for old tweets. For each tweet you can get hold of its web address (URL) so that you can share its link, or visit its page and collect the embed code. You can even favourite the tweet. Everything (OK except Direct Messages). Thanks Twitter :)

When you download the .zip file and once you've unpacked it (for me this has always happened automatically by simply double clicking on the zipped folder) the following folders and files are available:
  • css
  • data
  • img
  • index.html
  • js
  • lib
  • README.txt
The readme.txt helpfully explains that if you double click on index.html then it will open up into your default browser (if you want to use another browser than you'll have to navigate using the File /Open menu to wherever you've got the unzipped Twitter archive) and it looks like this...

In the panel on the left hand side you can see grey links saying "View on Twitter" - you can collect the URL from that or open the tweet in a new window and collect the embed code there. If you hover over the tweet then buttons appear (not shown) that will let you reply to the tweet or favourite it.

On the right hand side, should be explanatory, click on the blue rectangle to visit the tweets of that month and you can scroll through to your heart's content. And I'm sure you can see the search box at the top meaning that you can search through all your old tweets - I've tried it, it's fantastic.

I will leave the post below as a lesson to us all to RTFM first ;)

This post will also tell you
a) how to download your Twitter archive
b) how to link to (or embed) an archived tweet

The content of this post isn't very earth-shattering but today's the day I got my link that allows me to (first request, then receive a link by email and finally) download all of my old tweets. Everything is there :)

Twitter advises that your data can contain sensitive information (who you've talked to, links you've shared) so some caution is wise when bandying stuff about I suppose. Much of this information is pretty much hidden on the web now - Google doesn't index much stuff that's more than a year or two old, does go back further and there are other tools that help (see link in Useful posts, on the right), so this new archive is a bit of a goldmine.

See if you've got the option to request a download link here

Here's what I said in September 2008. The names of the people I tweeted are redacted for now. I've not linked to the individual tweets but it's pretty simple to get the URL.

The Twitter ID that accompanies each tweet in the csv (comma separated variable file, which is openable with Excel and things of that ilk) can be appended to the web address that takes you to your account name - this lets you bolt together a new URL to bring up the original tweet.

For example here's the URL of one tweet
 - the bit in pink is the Twitter ID, the bit in bold is MY url, you'll need to use your own.

The Twitter ID for my September 2008 tweet below in which I mention that I'm "watching a lovely 90s programme on computers..." is 936308704 so its URL becomes - you can see if the link and embedding of the tweet worked below...
  • is getting her tweets, bleats and facebook updates out all in one go, having been netless for a couple of days. Normality restored.
  • , when she was very small, thought that the past was black and white and that something Wizard of Oz-ish happened shortly before her birth
  • has got the internet back and is depressingly elated by this simple thing
  • is hooraying the return of Wispa bars which have just appeared in my local newsagents.
  • is also impressed with the video positioning slide on which people have added their annotations - first time I've seen that :)
  • is watching a lovely 90s programme on computers
  • - aerial journeys archive - Tomorrow's World, Britain from the air - BBC goes flying
  • [@ pal] Recommending "speechification" in case I've not already done so, they are on twitter but googling is also effective :)
  • is hoping that new facebook will soon become old facebook
  • is watching Countryfile and hoping the upstairs neighbours spontaneously turn down their slightly overloud music... then farmers' market-ing
  • [@ pal] I might have to try this camera :)"
  • is listening to Jonny Greenwood's Popcorn Superhet Receiver - scary! [edit - this opens up a .ram file]
  • is impressed at how twitter seems to be automatically converting URLs to tinyurls...
  • - someone at work did this for young ppl
  • is multitasking Radiolab and Coconut cupcake creation -
  • is practically designed for twitter having been text messaging for 13 years now with barely a message above 160chars.
  • is looking at Nature Network to pick some London events to go to with my colleagues as the Autumn talks season is definitely underway woohoo
  • [@ pal]  tweeting one, two, one, two, tweet ends... just seeing if this works or if I have to follow you to tweet at you ;-)
I'm interested to see that I'm using the 'is doing' style of tweet. Incidentally, at that same time Facebook updates had to be written in the style of what you were doing, so your prompt was 'Jo Brodie is' - there was a bit of a campaign to get Facebook to get rid of the 'is', obviously successful. Presumably the 'X is doing' format is common to other comms, that's how we talked on IRC in the '90s :)

I look forward to seeing what the cool kids were tweeting about back in 2006 before I'd even heard of Twitter. I joined in June 2008, my first tweet is below.

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