Twitter is now one of the leading social media sites, with an increasing population of users sharing data and gaining followers. Whilst much of this content seems highly disposable, users are increasingly valuing the content that they receive and share on Twitter, particularly as they start to integrate with other applications.
Unsurprisingly, this leads to a significant haul of ‘tweets’ and followers but what many users fail to consider is that their data may not be accessible for as long as they would expect. Twitter initially held onto tweets for about a month, but as the service has grown more popular, that time frame has greatly reduced and after a few days, you might now find it difficult to track down those precious tweets. Furthermore, what if the service were to be withdrawn altogether? How would you retain a copy of your data?
So, like any other electronic media, it goes without saying that you should make local arrangements to back up your data. There are a number of different services and utilities that will enable you to do this. Here is an overview of some of the options available.
This is one of the most popular free services that automatically backs up all your Twitter data. It’s also one of the easiest to use, runs daily over the internet and doesn’t require that you share your Twitter log in credentials, as some similar applications do.
ake offers much the same thing. Both services are targeted expressly at Twitter users, however.
Backupify offers more features and will allow you to back up both your Twitter data and your Facebook data, as well as other services like Google Mail and (rather conveniently) Google Documents. Backupify is very easy to install and you can set your back up to run daily or weekly. Data is stored in individual backup files in XML format, meaning that you can open them in your browser or in other applications like Microsoft Excel. Alternatively, a PDF file gives you a simple presentation of all your messages. On the downside, it’s not cheap. A basic account costs $9.95 a month and a premium account will set you back $59.95 per month.
Twinbox is a plugin for Microsoft Outlook that enables
s to be received directly into your Outlook inbox as email. As such, each tweet can be managed in exactly the same way as your emails. Be wary of downloading this in a corporate environment, however. This may well fall outside of corporate security policy and will significantly add to your mailbox size, which may be automatically restricted.
Google Reader –
Google Reader is free, but probably only suited to users with more technical experience. By incorporating the RSS feed from your Twitter page into your Google Reader account, you will automatically back up your tweets and favourites. With Google Reader, you’ll also be able to search the archive for specific content, rather than having to manage individual files.
Twistory is a great little service that lets you subscribe to any Twitter RSS feed (including your own, of course) and integrate this into a number of common calendar applications including Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar.
s are immediately imported to the calendar as soon as posted so you don’t need to wait for a daily back up file and you can import historic data too.
Other services exist and utilities are coming onto the market all the time. The ideal solution for each user will depend on the extent of their social media interaction, along with their technical expertise and their budget, but as long as the need to back up is understood and addressed, there should be no reason to lose any of those precious tweets.