The bird is not well. So it is time to request and download an archive of your Twitter data now, if you haven’t done this recently. After you have requested your archive, it can take a while until you receive it. I requested my archive on the day Elon walked in and got an email notice that my archive is ready for download after about a day. I suppose it might take a little longer at the moment because more people might request their data.
Once your archive is on your machine, you will have a browsable HTML archive of your tweets, direct messages, and moments including media like images, videos, and GIFs. This is nice, but it also has a few flaws. For one, you can’t easily copy your Tweets somewhere else, for example, into your website because they are stored in a complex JSON structure. But even more dangerous: your links are all still t.co links. This hides the original URL you shared and redirects all traffic over Twitter’s servers. But this is not only inconvenient, it is also dangerous. Just imagine what happens when t.co ever goes down: all URLs you ever shared are now unretrievable. And then, there are the images: all images in your archive are much smaller than the ones you originally shared, and when you click to expand them, you are taken to the Twitter website once again. So, your Twitter archive is far from being a safe, independent backup in case you want to delete your account or if Twitter ever dies completely.
But luckily, there is help in the form of a Python script called Twitter Archive Parser, a project startet by Tim Hutton.
This script does the following:
- It converts the tweets in your archive to markdown with embedded images, videos and links.
- It replaces t.co URLs with their original versions.
- It copies used images to an output folder, to allow them to be moved to a new home.
- Afterwards, it asks if you want to try downloading the original size images using downloadbetterimages.py.
The most challenging part of using it might be that you need to install Python3 first (😅). But once this is done, all you have to do is to put the little parser.py script into your downloaded Twitter archive folder and run it via
And that’s it. My Tweets are now available as Markdown and all links are converted into the originally shared URLs. 🎉
Like in this Tweet from 2011:
'I've been doing this for fifty years and I know what I'm doing!' Rand v Jobs: when egos collide http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2011/october/jobs-v-rand #design (Originally on Twitter: [Wed Nov 02 07:05:48 +0000 2011](https://twitter.com/m_ott/status/131628052932341761))
If you also want to download high-res versions of your images, you can optionally do that as well, but it will ask you first – and downloading them can take a little while.
There are other scripts that do similar or slightly other things – you can find links to some of them in the GitHub repository as well – yet in my case those two little scripts did the job well and it was all I needed (for now). Thanks a lot, Tim! 👏