How to Backup your Twitter World

As many of you probably learnt by experience, Twitter Search only shows results for the last couple of days.

I guess, one of the preliminary assumptions is that you consider your collection of 140-character-long phrases valuable. And would like to search thru them from time to time.

Friendfeed
One easy workaround is to add your Twitter stream into Friendfeed. Friendfeed – currently in a difficult interim situation since the Facebook announcement – still has the best real-time search. It is a great way to archive your tweets and make them searchable.

Import OPML file into Google Reader
These days, bloggers don’t talk much about OPML anymore. OPML files (and the legitimate re-use thereof) were widely discussed in the early days of the Swiss blogosphere.

It seems many apps try to shield us from the underlying technical issues regarding import/export and backups.

Dave Winer shows how to extract the feeds of your Twitter world using an OPML tool.

My Twitter world is accessible at http://tw.opml.org/get?user=nchenga&folder=1.

Next, I can download this file to my desktop.

And upload it into Google Reader:

  • Go to Manage Subscriptions
  • Select Import/Export
  • Select your OPML file and click Upload

It puts all of the newly imported feeds into a separate folder. ReadWriteWeb has a detailed how to.
The only downside is that you don’t want to re-read all of the tweets in your Google Reader. Especially if you’re reading other RSS streams within the same account.

Offline RSS Reader
You can use the OPML file to create an offline backup within your favorite desktop RSS reader. I use the feed reader in Opera 10 to pull a copy of my RSS feeds together. Advantage: doesn’t interfere with my online reading.

Twistory
Another fun tool is Twistory, which adds your Twitter prose to your Google Calendar. It offers an iCal feed. And you can time events by adding t and /t to your posts.

Timetracking tagging: start your tweets with both t or /t and Twistory will keep track of what you’re doing.

Twistory