December 20, 2012, 8:36 PM — Twitter recently introduced the option to download your entire archive of tweets and save them to your local hard drive, a feature similar to one that Facebook introduced in late 2010. The new Twitter feature will be welcomed by longtime and prolific Twitter users who, due to Twitter's restrictions, could only access their last 3,200 messages on the micro-blogging site turned self-styled "information network."
Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo said in September that Twitter users would be able to access their personal archives before the end of the year.
If you've always wanted to have your entire tweeting life available anytime anywhere, here's how to get started.
To access your tweet archive, you have to request it by signing in to Twitter.com and then click on the settings cog in the upper right-hand corner and select "Settings." Toward the bottom of the next page you will see a section called "Your Twitter archive." Click the "Request your archive" link. You will then see a message telling you that a link will be e-mailed once your archive is ready for download.
In my tests, I received my e-mail almost right away, but your results may vary depending on the size of your tweet archive (after four years, I still haven't cracked the 3,200 limit).
Downloading the archive
Twitter will not let you download your tweet archive from within your account's settings. Instead, you need a unique link that is sent to you via e-mail. The message will contain a link you can paste into your browser or you can just select the "Go now" button inside the e-mail.
Next, you'll be taken to a unique Twitter page that lets you download your archive. Your tweets will arrive inside a ZIP file containing a number of individual files and folders used to display your archive. Twitter's ZIP file does not include a containing folder so you may want to save your archive into a specific folder labeled "Tweet archive" or something similar.
Viewing the archive
Your tweets are organized using two formats: JSON and CSV. The latter is a standard way to export data and move it around to other applications. Contact databases, for example, are commonly available as a CSV export and then viewable in a spreadsheet.