Twitter has finally thought it's time you were able to download your own tweets. The social network has started rolling out the download tweets option, as promised by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo last month. Some users started noticing the feature late Sunday night and have already downloaded their logs.
Twitter confirmed that it has indeed begun rolling out the feature, but it is currently being tested with a ‘very small percentage’ of users. The new feature has appeared in the settings menu for some users, who said that users are allowed to ‘request your archive.’ Once activated, Twitter reportedly informs the user stating, "You can request a file containing your information, starting with your first tweet. A link will be emailed to you when the file is ready for download."
Check out all your tweets ever!
Twitter user Navjot Singh was one of the first people to request an archive and write about it. Singh wrote about the process briefly in a blog saying “On clicking this, twitter informs that they will mail you the download link when the archive is ready. Yes, it’s just like how Facebook’s archive system works. Once you get the mail and download it, you will get a zip file with the archive in html form. Extracting it and you will see all your tweets sorted in calendar format.”
Twitter emailed Singh telling him, “We're happy to let you know that the archive you requested is now available for download. Your archive may contain sensitive content. So please keep that in mind before sharing it with anyone.”
This feature puts Twitter on par with the likes of Facebook and Google, which allow users to export their data. The Data Liberation Front by Google is designed by an engineering team at Google whose "singular goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products." Even Facebook now allows users to access all the posts, comments and chats ever made from their account in the form of activity logs accessible from individual profiles.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo stated in November that archived tweets would be available for download in a few weeks' time. In a public talk at the Ford School of Public Policy and School of Information at the University of Michigan, Costolo confirmed that engineers were working on making a full archive of tweets available to users by the end of this year. He was there to discuss Twitter’s role in the future of global communication and democratised access to information.
Costolo had made this statement previously too. He first announced this feature in an interview with The New York Times in July. During a keynote conversation at the Online News Association conference in San Francisco, he said the tentative deadline for the feature was late 2012, taking into consideration the engineers’ capacity.
During the Ford School talk, Costolo went into deeper detail about why it has taken so long for Twitter to come up with this feature and why the 2012 deadline might actually seem to be too ambitious. Costolo explained that the team had been too busy trying to keep with the breakneck speed at which users and number of tweets on the site was growing. At 350 million tweets being posted per day, according to the CEO, the team hasn’t had time to build a solid archive retrieval feature.
Costolo seems to have stuck to his promise by delivering the option well before the deadline. Now we'll just have to wait and see if the feature gets rolled out completely before the year end!