You can use your Twitter archive for many things. For example, most people backup their Twitter data to keep a copy of their followers and tweets if something goes wrong, like getting suspended or deactivated.
If you’ve ever downloaded your Twitter archive, then you might have come across some limitations, such as the time it takes to receive your data or its format. We’ll explain what these limitations are and offer you our alternative.
- Twitter Archive Download File Format - JSON File
- Slow - Over 24 Hours to Download Your Twitter Data
- Data Usability - You Can’t Extract and Analyse Your Data
- Manual - You Can’t Backup Your Twitter Archive Regularly
- Private Access - You Can’t Download Another Account’s Data
First, let’s explain how you can download your Twitter archive step by step.
- Open Twitter and go to your account settings by clicking “More” on the left-hand side.
- Then click on “Settings and Privacy,” under “Your Account,” you’ll find “Download an archive of your data.”
- Enter your password, then click Confirm.
- You’ll need to verify your identity by sending a code to your email address and/or phone number.
- Enter the code that you received, then click “Request data.”
- You’ll be notified when your download is ready, and you’ll be able to click the Download data button under the Download data section.
- You will then receive a .zip file of your Twitter archive.
When you download your Twitter archive, you receive data such as your profile information, your Tweets, your DMs, your Moments, your media, a list of your followers, a list of accounts you are following, and more. Let’s look at the limitations you’ll come across and their solutions.
Twitter Archive Download File Format - JSON File
Your Twitter archive will be downloaded in JSON format, which may cause usability issues unless you know how to extract this data onto a platform where you can filter and go through the data as you please. For example, copy-pasting tweets or filtering dates are not available in a text editor when reading a JSON file.
Here’s the complete list of data Twitter archive lets you view:
- Account information: This is where information about your account such as email address, phone number, account type, bio, screen name, user ID, age, location, and more lives.
- Tweets: You’ll get to see all your tweets, retweets and replies, deleted or not, in the past.
- Likes: Every tweet you liked so far is under this section.
- Direct Messages: You can see all your direct messages, even those you deleted here.
- Safety: Here you can see the accounts you’ve muted. If you’ve blocked anyone in the past, they’ll appear here.
- Personalization: Your ad preferences live here, showing how Twitter categorises you according to demographics, interests, which advertisers have added you to their links, locations associated with your account, and your saved searches.
- Ads: You can review the ads you may have seen on Twitter here. You can see the information of advertisers who have targeted you.
- Lists: You’ll be able to see all the lists you’ve been added to, you’ve created, or followed.
- Moments: You’ll see the Moments you created on Twitter here.
twtData, on the other hand, turns your Twitter data into .csv or .xlsx (Excel) format for easy use in any spreadsheet application. You can easily filter your Twitter data: tweets, friends, followers, and more in Excel or similar software.
Slow - Over 24 Hours to Download Your Twitter Data
One of the biggest downsides of downloading your Twitter archive is the time it takes. Even though you are logged into your account, you will also need to verify it’s you by entering your password.
When your data is ready to download, you get an in-app notification. Sometimes you might have to repeat this process because the download may fail.
With twtData, you can backup your tweets, followers, friends, and DMs with the click of a button. Depending on the size of it, downloading your Twitter data with twtData will take, in most cases, a few minutes.
Data Usability - You Can’t Extract and Analyse Your Data
The follower download gives you the User ID of your followers, not the username, which is not very helpful when identifying who the follower is. So if you want to analyse your followers by using your Twitter archive, you need to use a third-party tool that can help you gain some insight into your account.
Whereas if you use twtData to download your followers, you’ll be able to see; your follower’s Twitter handle, location, Twitter bio, friends count, listed count, and more.
Another limitation with the Twitter archive is not being able to trace back to a date you want or search keywords to find tweets about a certain hashtag or topic. This also makes it difficult to find and delete the old tweets that might cause you problems.
Instead, use twtData to download your tweets, and you’ll be able to filter dates, search for keywords, and more.
In short, Twitter archive doesn’t give you the opportunity to extract any data that might be useful to you. Such as a list you’ve created, your likes, your DMS, a list of your followers, or your tweets.
Manual - You Can’t Backup Your Twitter Archive Regularly
Twitter currently doesn’t give you the option to backup your account regularly to help you keep a copy of your most recent tweets even when you delete them or a list of your followers.
So if you regularly want to back up your Twitter data, you would have to request it manually each time. So instead, use a service such as twtData starting from 5$ a month to automatically back up your tweets, followers, friends, DMs.
Private Access - You Can’t Download Another Account’s Data
As the account data on Twitter is only available to the account holder, you can’t access the Twitter archive of just any account. If you want someone else’s Twitter data regularly, such as followers, friends, and tweets, then Twitter doesn't offer this as part of their Twitter archive tool; you will need to use a third-party tool.
If you are researching a particular Twitter account or subject, you may need to see historical tweets. At twtData, we offer services to gather data of public tweets, going as far back as when Twitter was founded.
twtData also gives you different options to download someone else’s Twitter data directly on our website, from downloading their Twitter followers to tweets. However, you won’t be able to download someone else’s DMs, likes, lists, etc.
You can download your Twitter archive to go down memory lane, but Twitter archive data is not useful for much else since it’s not designed to be analysed, shared, or programmed. By using twtData, you can overcome the limitations of the Twitter archive feature and use your data or another account’s data as you please.