Posted December 19, 2012 3:38 pm by with 0 comments

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Twitter is rolling out a new feature that allows users to download their entire archive of Tweets including re-Tweets going back to their very first utterance.

If you want to do this thing, you go to Settings and look for this button:

twitter request

If you don’t have the button, don’t worry, it’s coming – in English and in every language available on the site. After you request your archive, little elves will run around copying and pasting and then you’ll get an email saying it’s ready.

I have not tried this, but Twitter says the archive will be searchable by month, phrases, hashtags and @names. This is the only thing that makes this whole concept even bearable.

I don’t know about you, but I follow several people who Tweet a few times an hour for at least eight hours a day. That’s a lot of data. Most of that information is timely and once its time has passed, it’s irrelevant. Yes, it might be cool to read about what you ate for lunch this same day two years ago, but do we need this information? No.

The average person who avails themselves of this service will do it for the novelty, but there are cases where this archive could come in handy.

Legal Issues

It’s rare, but Twitter has been called to the stand a few times in recent months. Back in February, law enforcement officials subpenaed Twitter for Tweets related to the Occupy Wall Street arrests. Lawyers have also used social media to show intent and prove that defendants were lying about incidents or their whereabouts.

If there’s any chance that you’ll be facing a judge, having a printout of your Tweets might help you prepare for what lies ahead.

Business Issues

If you’re Tweeting on behalf of your business, having a full archive might come in handy. It can be used as a mini-timeline of events over the years. It can also give you some perspective on your customer relationships. If a large portion of your archive is devoted to apologies and promises to fix something, maybe you have a larger problem that needs some attention.

Hired Tweeters

If other people Tweet on behalf of your business, be they paid consultant, employees, or friends wanting to help, you should take advantage of this opportunity to read what’s been said. Twitter is a fast moving medium, so it’s likely that you haven’t seen every Tweet associated with your account. Your archive could be littered with well-meaning missteps or worse yet, blatant lies and nasty responses from a bored worker.

Right now, the archive download appears to be an all or nothing option. Going forward, it would be nice if they offered the ability to choose specific dates. That way you could regularly review your account on a month by month basis.

Are you going to download your Twitter archive? If so, why?