Thursday, April 8, 2010

Archive-Along Part 5: Backing up your Tweets

Yesterday's Archive-Along post from Diane on Blog Books was fantastic. I especially loved the magazine option for printing copies of your best blog posts. I had no idea that was available, and it's got me thinking that I will likely combine that option with my tweets discussed here today to create a special publication of my space shuttle launch adventures ....

Today's Archive-Along installment is about backing up your tweets.

At first glance, the idea of backing up handfuls of 140 character bits of conversation may seem silly, but if you think again (and if you've been using Twitter effectively) you'll realize how much valuable information is contained in your tweets.

There are two kinds of tweets that making backing up your Twitter feed important: the ones in which you share useful information/links/pictures and the ones which capture in-the-moment expressions of special occasions. Twitter quickly became my go-to social network, and I found it was the easiest, quickest way to disperse information or commentary on something I was doing. Because of that, some of my richest bits of memories are floating out there in Twitterland. This is especially true for my space shuttle launch experience.

I also find myself using Twitter constantly to share interesting things I find on the internet. I'm an internet junkie, and the only thing I love more than finding cool stuff on the internet is sharing it with friends. But where do all these found gems disappear to if I shoot them out to Twitter and then do nothing to follow up?

Here are some options for backing up your tweets:

A backup service
There are several services out there for backing up your tweets. They range from free to small monthly or annual fees. Mashable has a nice roundup here. Choosing a service will be mostly personal preference and what your budget allows. Be sure to look for things like easy searching, option to add tags to your tweets, backup of favorites/mentions/DMs, etc.

I favorite things in Twitter like crazy. I'll often zip through Twitter while I'm waiting somewhere (at the doctor's office, in a line, after-school pick up for the kids) and if I see something that looks interesting but I don't have time to read it right away, I'll favorite the tweet so I can go back and check it out later. My favorites become (for the most part) a rich bookmark resource. I want those suckers to be saved!

Another tip: Use your hashtags! If you are tweeting from an event or on a special subject, pick a hashtag, stick to it and use it every.single.time. I realized that I wasn't doing this during my STS-130 launch experience, and if I'd come up with my own special tag, finding my tweets later would have been muuuuuuch easier. Learn from my mistake!

Analog backup:
In addition to backing up your tweets online, it can be fun to find other ways of using your tweets in your work. Think back to Diane's post about archiving your blog in zine format. If you were creating a zine based around a particular event or special subject on which you'd also been tweeting, pulling those tweets into the zine can be a great way to sprinkle personal commentary throughout the publication. And now that I've read about the glossy printed magazine DIY option from Diane's post yesterday, I really want to try this with my MAKE pieces and tweets from the launch.

Again, I'll use my space shuttle launch experience to demonstrate. After the launch, I put together an iPhoto book that chronicled my adventures before, during and after the launch. One thing I really wanted to include, but ended up not having time to, was screen shots of some of my tweets throughout that experience. Honestly, I ran out of time. I wanted the book done in time to take down to Houston for the debrief event so I could have it signed by the crew. I didn't have time to search my tweets (that weren't backed up at the time - argh!) and pull screen shots.

For those of you who use Twitter regularly and effectively, your tweets become an important extension of your blog conversations. Backing them up needs to be a priority.


  1. What an awesome concept! And I loved seeing some of your tweets from the launch again. They really did make up a fantastic journal of your experience, and it would be so cool to have them in a hard-copy format to re-live again in future.

    And, totally - I share links every day on Twitter. Really need to back up my tweets so I don't lose all that web-searching time.

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. Thanks, Diane!

    Indeed, I didn't even end up going in to the useful links tweets very much here. If you use a backup service like TweetSaver, you can tag your tweets. It could be useful to go back once a week or so and go through your tweets to tag them as "links" or "resources" and/or the subject which they cover. For example, if you tweeting a link on a good plastic bag UpCraft project, you could tag it "link, upcraft, plasticbags" and then later, if you were wanting to find that tweet/link, you'd just have to search those tags in TweetSaver. A nice option.

    The other thing I've been using lately for sharing things is Tumblr. I like that I can share a link and it will go to Twitter *and* facebook *and* creates a stand-alone "blog" of all my finds. Then I have a nice juicy record of them all in one place!

    Ack! Mooooore Soooociall Meeedia!


  3. oh, heaventy sakes. I had no idea. I haven't tweeted for awhile, but my page is full of gems.


    I always love your space geek tweets and the links and all the info. My friend Carla Thomas works fer NASA at Edwards and is always blabbing on about launches. Like it's a big damn deal.

    Rock ON.

  4. Awww, your tweets are so sweet, I understand that you'd want to keep them and make an archive with them. Just knowing that you would write about this I've "stared" a couple of tweets - thinking about them differently now. They are in the third category; little word gems like great quotes or things someone else said that makes me laugh.

    When it comes to links I mark what I love and want to reference later with They now have a twitter function. So when i add, tag and save a great link I can tweet it at the same time, so I don't need to find the tweet to find the link. It's already tagged and indexed in my bookmarks. :-) Just another idea.

  5. Ah yes! Delicious! Great reminder. :) I'll be sure to note that when we do our round-up at the end of the series. Thanks!

    Chris - I think I want, "Rocket Launches: They're a big damn deal" on a t-shirt. ;)

    Thanks, y'all!


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