Twitter can crash and they can restore from backup losing your recent tweets. Or perhaps they will one day start to purge older tweets. Well if this worries you then I have the perfect application for you.
Twitter Backup is a small 423KB Java (.jar) file. What it does is effectively grab all your tweets from the Twitter website and save them on your local machine as an XML file. This means you will have your own data in your own hands. You can reference your data locally instead of online or use it to create an outline for a manuscript.
After you have downloaded Twitter Backup (and have Java installed on your machine), you will be able to launch the application. When you do you will see the main user interface.
Go ahead and fill in your username and password in the correct fields. The password will be displayed in clear, plain text so be wary of anyone around you that you would not want to have your Twitter password.
Then you will tell Twitter Backup the file’s name and path where you want to store your outputted tweets. You can also fill in your proxy server if you have one. If you do not know what this is, chances are you do not need it.
When you are finished filling in your data, the start button will light up and you can go ahead and hit it. You will start to see the output in the log window like so:
The way the application retrieves the data from Twitter (via the Twitter API) requires it to wait 1 minute in between requests. This slows the process down horribly but if left overnight, when you come back, it will be done with all your tweets. If you have millions of tweets than this might not be the best solution for you but, for me it completed in about two hours (or maybe less – I did walk away).
When I came back I saw that Twitter Backup was finished.
I went to go check out the auto generated XML file with all my tweets in it. I navigated to the directory I gave in the file name field of the settings and opened the application in notepad ++. I was then able to see everything I have ever tweeted and I can even visually recreate my timeline and show what I was doing at certain points in time. It is very cool.
Do you have another application that will allow me to back up my tweets – maybe a little quicker than Twitter Backup? If so and it is free drop me a line or leave a comment below.
You can also check out TweetBackup if you want something a little more automated.