Have you checked your Twitter feed recently? It’ll likely be filled with people convinced the service will go offline any minute now. And with good reason: hundreds of staff members opted to go home after new owner Elon Musk told them to “be extremely hardcore” and work “long hours at high intensity”. Apparently, demanding a blood oath from staff before locking them out of their office isn’t how you win people over. Maybe that means it’s time to kiss your Twitter data goodbye – unless you move to save it now.
While the platform can be criticized for small things like, oh, helping a tiny-handed real estate developer become US President, the day of Twitter’s demise would be a sad one. Twitter, after all, is a pretty vital tool for breaking news. Millions of people use it find work and make friends. Without Twitter, there would be no Wagatha Christie, no @dril, and no Ed Balls Day. For those who’ve been building a brand (or simply sh*tposting) on Twitter since it hit the internet in 2006, seeing all that work potentially disappear overnight is daunting.
Before you migrate to Mastodon, or delete your account altogether (although, as this thread explains, bowing out early may not be the best decision), there are a few steps you can take* to download your data if Twitter does go dark.
*At the time of writing. Who knows what will happen on Twitter in the next hour.
Request your data
The easiest way to save your Twitter data is through the site itself. To do this, navigate to Settings and Support, then Settings and Privacy. Go to Your Account, and there you’ll find an option to download an archive of your data. It’s worth noting, though, that some users have expressed this is taking several hours at the moment. You can also download your Periscope data using the same method.
Your Twitter data will provide details of your activity over the years, from your very first tweet to your last. It will hold basic information such as username, email, phone numbers, as well as specific information you’ve shared with Twitter, such as birthdays. It will also show you your login history, devices associated with your account and accounts you’ve blocked or muted.
You can also use a little Twitter ingenuity to save what’s important to you. Do you have a favorite thread, such as when this guy met the President of Ireland whilst, erm, inebriated? Navigate to the page, press Ctrl + P on Windows (Command + P on Mac) and save the thread as a PDF document. Thread Reader is also a good third-party service for saving threads as blog posts.
Grab an extension
We’ll first caveat this tip with a disclaimer. Before downloading an extension its worth looking into safety and privacy protocols they run on. Extensions can massively improve your online experience – hello, AdBlocker – but they can also steal your data, change privacy settings and, generally, make a mess of your browser.
For those who don’t want to lose friends, Listfollowers.com is a great tool for capturing your follows, followers and mutuals. If you regularly use Twitter bookmarks, which saves your favorite tweets to one easily accessible timeline, then dewey is a great tool for searching and organizing all your bookmarks. Dewey also allows you to annotate your bookmarks to remind you why, just why, you favorited a Tweet about the Yorkshire Kardashians.
Save your videos
While Twitter has never made saving videos an official feature, there are plenty of third-party apps out there that can do the job. Memes will live on long after Twitter folds, after all.
SaveTweetVid or TwitterVideoDownloader are good ways to do this on desktop. For Android phone users, Tweeload is a relatively reliable video downloader for Twitter, and is available for free on the Google Play Store. TVDL works for iPhone and iPad, although it can be a little slow and glitchy at times.