Blog, Reclaim

Archiving a Twitter Account

One of this week’s episodes of Reclaim Today sparked a conversation around archiving. These episodes are always a great listen, in this particular episode, Tim and Jim were chatting about Harvard’s announcement to close down blogs.harvard.edu. 

A highlight of this talk occurs about 9 minutes in when Tim discusses how users begin to think about taking their content with them. Jim continues the conversation, describing that the blogging platform, specifically with UMW Blogs, was intended as a point of content creation with the notion that users own their content and can take it with them when they graduate. This became, as Jim said, the “kernel at the beginning of agency and digital identity.”

I looked into what this meant during my senior capstone project, where I created an Intro to Domain of One’s Own video. 


I didn’t really think much of this after listening to the live stream, but then I came across an old twitter account. I created an account as part of a final project for ds106, where we portrayed a character from the Wire in ‘real life’ through social media. We watched the Wire as part of the class and my character was Beadie Russell. 

This sparked my thoughts more on what I can control in other digital presences like through Twitter. I examined what this looked like through my own content and through my capstone project, but it never really hit me I could do this with content on a social media platform. So I decided, since I wasn’t actively using the account anymore, I would download an archive of the tweets I created for ds106.

So I requested an archive of the account (thank goodness I remembered the login credentials) and in a few short minutes, I had a .zip file of all the tweets for @beadierussell. I saw Tim did this exact thing with his previous twitter account as well.  I combed through the files, fully expecting to keep them on my computer locally and, I realized this was set up to be uploaded online. So I decided to do just that, I created a subdomain from my domain, and upload the .zip file of the account to it, so I can link it to the final project. 

It was super easy! I FTP’d into my account, uploaded the .zip folder and boom, @beadierussell now lives on meredithfierro.com! You can view the archive here at twitter.meredithfierro.com/beadierussell.

It’s nothing fancy, but I imagine it would look awesome if you had years of tweets, like Tim. Super cool that Twitter provided the coded files to upload the account right away too!

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Meredith Fierro

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