This is huge news. Monstrously huge news. Eliza Kern at GigaOm:
Several Twitter users began noticing Sunday that they now have the ability to download their full archive of tweets, a capability that users have asked for since Twitter’s early days, but which looks like is rolling out to users now.
Only took them half a decade
Back when we all started using Twitter in the early days, we just assumed our archive of tweets would be accessible, just as our blog posts are. After we hit the invisible ~3000 tweet ceiling, we realised some of them weren't easily accessible unless we had the original URL. As far as I know, it's not accessible in their API for third party clients, either. If you use Twitter as a IM client that's probably acceptable, but for those of us who tried using it as a microblog, that was a horribly limiting factor.
Prior to their recent policy changes for third party clients, I kept a backup of all my tweets in a pseudo-hidden category here. Still, there are a lot of gaps, and I have almost none of my tweets from 2007 to 2009. I'd been considering going through various caches in home folder backups to see if I could reconstruct a timeline that way, but given the sheer number of clients I've used over the years (Twitteriffic, Snitter, Twirl, Tweetie, TweetDeck, TweetBot, Polly… and that's just on the desktop) I knew I had my work cut out for me.
It’ll be like downloading six years of my life
ASASP, I'll be downloading my own archive. First thing I'll do: import it right here into my same pseudo-category. Second thing: figure out how to backup tweets more reliably going forward.
I wonder what format it'll be in. JSON? CSV? An SQLite database? Hey, that'd be schweet.