How To Backup Your Twitter Account

Backup TwitterThe issue of backing up data from your Twitter account is becoming more important as people spend considerable amounts of time and effort building a valuable reputation and network of contacts.

There are serveral reasons why it’s a good idea to backup your Twitter account on a regular basis;

  • There might be a reappearance of the Big Fail Whale that caused Twitter to lose certain follower records in June/July 2008
  • You may want to refer to an older Tweet that no longer exists on the Twitter network
  • After the recent Twitter Phishing attacks, if your account was hacked, could you prove that it was initially your account? At least if you have the details of the people that you followed, you’ll find it easier and quicker to rebuild a new account.

Which leads us to the central question; How do I backup my Twitter account?

1. Online Twitter Backup Services

www.Tweetake.com
www.TwitterSafe.com
www.BackUpMyTweets.com

These sites allow you to login using your Twitter details, select what you want to backup, then work in the background until they are ready to present you with an csv file of your Twitter data. The file can then be viewed using a program such as Microsoft Excel.

However, due to the recent phishing related security concerns, many of you may prefer not to share your Twitter password with a third party site until some sort of user verification process is adpoted by Twitter.

2. Tools

At the time of writing I could only find two desktop tools to backup Twitter account data. The first tool, Twitter Backup, recently created by Johann Burkard allows you to backup your tweets. Just download Twitter Backup, enter your Twitter username and password (only Twitter will receive your login details) and the name of the file that you want to create. The software will request 20 tweets from your account every minute, so if you have posted hundreds or even thousands of tweets, this could take a while.

The second tool that I have just found is a Twitter backup java application that allows you to backup every aspect of your Twitter account, including your friends, followers, tweets, @ messages, direct messages, favorites etc.

As yet I haven’t used this tool so I can’t comment on how effective it is.

3. Manual Backup From The Twitter API

If you prefer to backup your data manually, it’s possible to submit queries to the Twitter API.

Backup the people you follow by entering the following url into your browser. Once you have entered your Twitter ID and password, it will provide you with an xml page with all the data from the first 100 people that you follow.

http://twitter.com/statuses/friends.xml?page=1

In your browser, click file, save page as, then select file type (webpage, xml only) and select a file name. You will then be able to open the xml file with Microsoft Excel.

For the second hundred people that you follow, use http://twitter.com/statuses/friends.xml?page=2 then just keep increasing the page number until you have backed up all the people that you follow.

To back up your followers, use the same procedure with this url;

http://twitter.com/statuses/followers.xml?page=1

And finally, to backup your tweets, use this url (change USERNAME to your Twitter username);

http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/USERNAME.xml?page=1

If you have an active Twitter account, this manual backup method can take a long time.

4. RSS Feed

If you want to automatically back up your own tweets, one of the simplest techniques is to search for your @username using http://search.twitter.com, then subscribe to your Twitter RSS feed. This will automatically pull all of your tweets, past, present and future to your feed reader where you can archive the data.

But if you know of any other Twitter backup techniques or tools, we’d love to hear from you.

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45 comments ↓

#1 Araldia on 01.13.09 at 7:35 PM

I get an error on the manual backup from the API.

#2 InfinityPlusOne on 01.14.09 at 2:05 PM

I’ve got some advanced search & export options for twitter available here:

http://twitter.infinityplusone.com/

#3 Stuart on 01.14.09 at 3:01 PM

Hi, I just checked the manual backup links and they worked okay. The Twitter API might have been having problems when you tried to use the links.

The fail whale is never far from the surface.

Let us know if you still have problems with the manual backup.

Stuart Laing
Twitter Power Team

#4 Ann Evanston on 02.10.09 at 10:11 AM

Thanks for the great tips and advice! Even if you can back up favorites and DMs, which have phone numbers and emails of people I’ve connected with would be a good thing!

Ann Evanston
http://www.warriorpreneurs.com
Strategies and Tactics for 21st Century Networking

#5 Gabriella on 03.12.09 at 9:36 AM

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#6 Amanda on 03.12.09 at 9:51 AM

This is great. Thanks for sharing. I used the manual API option you suggested and with IE was able to export to Microsoft Excel, giving me a clean spreadsheet of it all. Sweet.

Amanda’s last blog post..amanda4bes: RT @styletime + others: How To Backup Your Twitter Account http://tinyurl.com/7ff7q2

#7 Gabriella on 03.12.09 at 9:59 AM

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#8 Stuart on 03.12.09 at 7:37 PM

I’m really pleased that you found the information helpful Amanda.

We’re still looking for a desktop tool that will allow users to backup all of the data from their Twitter account.

As soon as we find a reliable solution, we’ll publish details on this blog.

Stuart Laing
Twitter Power Team

#9 Carrie on 03.14.09 at 10:36 AM

Hmmm. The RSS option sounds attractive but I’m not seeing it on the search page. Can you help?

#10 Stuart on 03.15.09 at 9:23 PM

Carrie - Another way to subscribe to your Twitter RSS feed is to visit your Twitter profile, then click the RSS icon that appears next to the url address bar.

If you’re using the Firefox browser, the RSS icon will appear to the right of the url address bar at the top of the page.

Once you click this, just select which feed reader you want to use from the drop down box then click Subscribe Now.

Hope that helps.

Stuart Laing
Twitter Power Team

#11 SocialPMChick on 03.16.09 at 7:38 PM

Great info! Thanks for sharing.

SocialPMChick’s last blog post..Personal Media - Nah - Social Media Sounds Better

#12 Back up your Twitter account? « Twitter Stuff on 03.16.09 at 7:53 PM

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#13 Tom Colvin on 03.16.09 at 11:47 PM

I’d never thought about a Twitter backup. Grateful that you brought this to my attention as I have developed a following, as well as identified some leaders I wish in turn to follow.

Tom Colvin’s last blog post..Smashwords - The Essential Piece of the Puzzle

#14 @HughBriss on 03.25.09 at 5:47 PM

So just how does one go about restoring the Twitter information they have backed up in case it does become necessary? If I back up my hard drive the backup software also restores that data for me but how do we do it with Twitter. Send them our file and hope they take the time to do it for us?

#15 @philipturpin on 04.06.09 at 5:43 PM

Thanks for the great tips.

Not that I’m overly concerned with releasing my Profile/Password to the aforementioned sites, the geek in me won and I had fun playing, manually, with the API!

Considering writing my own script now to perform regular backups straight from my laptop.

#16 @philipturpin on 04.06.09 at 5:49 PM

@hughbriss, I just checked the Twitter API documentation and there is the ability to create a friendship. So I guess someone out there would be able to create a service to restore friendships from a file created by the manual download.

It does make me wonder though, if that could be open to abuse and simply used to create a mass following and in return get a mass of followers.

#17 Freehill Media Website Design on 04.06.09 at 5:52 PM

Not many people think about backing up their Twitter account, and some people wouldn’t care less. However like some of our team members, they’ve created an online presence that they can’t afford to lose.

For project / experimental reasons, we have a backup of all the (public & some private) tweets made in the past 6 months, with friends/followers records as well. Everyday we archive tweets older than 6 months to another server (just in case we need it).

I cannot speak on behalf of Twitter but I’m pretty sure they would have a pretty damn good backup procedure in place with S3 anyways.

#18 Johni Louise on 04.07.09 at 12:16 AM

@JamesRivers
as always you have provided value. One reason I so love your tweets. This is something I have not done but will! I appreciate that you care about our passwords and would like to say that YOUR recommendations for 3rd party apps I have used like Tweetdeck have had no probs. I know if You had a problem you would immediately tell us. I think you are a trusted Resource James and appreciate you. Backing up now- boop boop boop :)
@johnilouise

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#22 Drolgerg on 04.27.09 at 9:39 AM

Thanks for this - great post, really useful. I also got an erro from the twitter api but will try again.

Drolgerg’s last blog post..10 More Ways to Annoy People on Twitter: A Celebrity Special!

#23 Twitted by LordGU on 05.04.09 at 6:14 AM

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#25 Twitter Search on 05.26.09 at 10:01 PM

thats great that you are talking about the twitter api,a good example of searching with the twitter api is on twiogle.com because you can search on twitter and google at the same time.

#26 LisaStratus on 06.14.09 at 8:47 AM

It is remarkable, rather amusing answer

#27 Tyson on 12.03.09 at 8:55 PM

Check out the service we launched for twitter backups at http://www.arkovi.com - we don’t require your twitter password and our basic version is free

#28 David on 02.11.10 at 6:22 PM

I use this awesome utility to backup tweets - http://www.mytwebo.com
@mytwebo

Definitely check out!

#29 Imee on 04.09.10 at 7:23 PM

Never thought of using RSS feeds to backup my tweets. I’ll try that one now, thanks!
Imee´s last blog ..Photography and Such. My ComLuv Profile

#30 Imee on 04.09.10 at 7:32 PM

I just tried, it got only my latest 20 tweets. :( Anybody, help please?
Imee´s last blog ..Photography and Such. My ComLuv Profile

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#33 Dennison Uy on 10.03.10 at 6:15 AM

Good list! I’m using TweetBackup and it works very well for my needs.

#34 The Nerdy Nurse on 07.18.11 at 10:45 PM

Thank you for the resources!
Would be awful to loose all my tweets. I would surely be upset.
The Nerdy Nurse´s last blog ..Getting Into Nursing Informatics: HITECH EHR EMR Certification My ComLuv Profile

#35 Hopeful on 03.05.12 at 3:31 PM

I tried the manual backup but all I get is a blank page. I saved the page but only saw this:

-
This method requires authentication.
/statuses/followers.xml?page=1

I know this post is old but I hope somebody is still looking in and can help!

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#37 Missy on 06.15.13 at 1:40 AM

Great information! Thanks for sharing these back up ideas

#38 Recover Twitter Password Tutorial on 07.24.13 at 6:22 AM

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#39 Leonardo Tolosa on 02.07.14 at 9:03 PM

Hi! You should also check http://tweetelephant.com, it builds a public archive, with beautiful visualizations and a fully browseable and searcheable timeline. Check it out, is free!

#40 shiva on 02.17.14 at 1:35 AM

i searching for the long time to backup my twitter account. thanks for your blog

#41 shiva on 02.17.14 at 4:05 AM

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