I have been a Twitter user since 2006, but only in the last few years did I start using the microblogging site on a daily basis. It took me a while to figure out just what the purpose of Twitter was and how I wanted to use it. Eventually I discovered that although I don’t have the time to maintain a full blown blog, I do have enough time to make 140 character posts throughout the day.
A few years ago, I stumbled upon Twournal which can put your latest 3,200 tweets into a PDF or paperback book. When you see your Twitter content archived in one document, you gain a better appreciation of what it means to be a published author. Twournal allows you to create, buy and sell books printed from your tweets. Registering on the site and creating your first book is nearly as easy as signing in and allowing Twournal to access your Twitter timeline, going back to as far as your very first tweet.
InvderMedia, the developers of Twournal are gracious enough to provide your Tweet collection for free in PDF format. Dozens of twitter users take advantage of this feature every day because the process is so simple, and it is a great way to archive your Twitter content.
Creating Your First Book
To create a Twournal, simply sign in with the Twitter account you want to use, and select if would you like to include photos posted to your timeline (via Twitpic, Yfrog, Flickr, Instagram, etc.)
Your Twournal includes a standard multicolor cover, but you will probably want to customize it with your own photo. Before clicking the Finish button, you have several other options to consider for creating your book, including what years to include and not include, and whether or not you want to remove replies, URL links, hashtags, and retweets.
After you submit your book, you will be e-mailed within 24 hours a link to a free PDF version of your book. Even if you plan to purchase a paperback copy of your Twournal, you should definitely order and view the PDF first.
Writing Your First Book
When I first considered ordering a Twournal book, I wasn’t quite sure if it would contain the kind of content that I wanted. What I discovered early on was that few of my tweets included photos, which I felt was essential for my book.
Photos help break up the pages and pages of tweets, and of course provide visual context. So in 2011 I started using my iPhone to snap and upload them directly to my Twitter timeline.
There is nothing really special you have to do in order to write “good” Twitter content. Though you’re communicating on Twitter with your contacts, you mainly post what is important to you and not someone else. However, if you would like to make your Twournal the sort of memorable diary or journal of your thoughts and experiences, you might very well put some thought into the types of tweets you are posting.
For the last several days I have been reading back through my tweets from 2010 to 2011, and though there a great mixture of links to articles I was reading on the net, I noticed that I tweeted quite heavily about important issues that mattered to me – e.g. the death of singer and songwriters Teena Maria and later Gil Scott Heron, the execution of Troy Davis, my thoughts and participation in the Occupy Movement, and posts about goals and accomplishments I made in my day-to-day life.
It looks as if I never went more than three days without posting something to my Twitter timeline, and that was probably the key to making a useful and memorable Twournal.
By the end of last year, my Twournal came to 325 pages – starting from March of 2010.
I also noticed that what makes my Twournal worth reading is how often I made comments about issues and topics I’m concerned about, instead of just retweeting tweets and headlines.
With a smart phone camera and a Twitter app, it is quite easy to post photos directly to your timeline. You might take and post photos of events you attend, special meals you cook, and projects you’re working on.
But you need not limit yourself to camera images. My Twournal consists of over a dozen images composed of desktop screenshots and photos I grabbed from websites.
In the digital age, we often take for granted that the digital content we produce will always be available to us online or on some personal storage device. While that might surely be the case, producing paper documents and artifacts from our digital content is still important.
Whether you purchase a Twournal book or print your PDF, you will appreciate your collection of tweets a lot more when viewing them in hand, in paper format. I’m actually reading through my Twournal as I do any other book, except this time, it’s my own.
For other articles about Twitter, check out our directory of articles that includes tips and recommendations for using the microblogging site.
Let us know what you think about Twournal. Do you plan to create your own?