It’s never a bad time to back up your data. But for Twitter users, it’s arguably more urgent than usual, what with the platform’s recent … unpredictability. Mass firings and resignations, whiplash policy changes and crippled infrastructure don’t instill a ton of confidence that Twitter will remain stable well into the distant future. That’s why it’s worth considering archiving your account for posterity.

Twitter’s long offered a tool for archiving account data, which at present allows you to copy your data in a machine-readable format that’s portable to a select few other services. But while the tool works well for simple backups, the archives it creates aren’t particularly user friendly. There isn’t an obvious way to quickly organize the tens to thousands of tweets an archive might contain, for instance, or drill down within an archive for specific types of tweets and embedded media.

Fortunately, thanks to the open source community, there’s freely available tools for those who wish to exercise more control over their Twitter archives. They don’t subvert Twitter’s archive request process — you’ll need an account archive directly from Twitter to use many of the tools — but they make working with Twitter archives less painful while expanding the archives’ usefulness, at least in theory.

The Twitter Archive Parser goes beyond the Twitter archiver’s barebones functionality to replace shortened URLs with their original versions, copy tweeted images to a folder (for easier sorting), output lists of followers and people you’re following and download images in their original sizes. (By default, Twitter’s archiver swaps out full-sized images in tweets for smaller ones.)

Taupe takes a Twitter archive, extracts the URLs corresponding to the tweets, retweets and such, and outputs the results in a spreadsheet format that can be used with other software and services, such as Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. While Taupe has limitations — for example, because the Twitter archive format for “likes” doesn’t contain a timestamp, Taupe can’t know or show exactly when individual tweets were liked — it’s one of the simplest ways to quickly convert historical Twitter data into a more useable format.

What if you’re only interested in specific artifacts from your Twitter account, like photos? While there’s no way around downloading your entire account archive, some tools help to surface only the items of interest within that archive.

Well — that’s all the open source tools we’ve spotted for managing Twitter archives so far. If we missed any, feel free to send us an email and we’ll see about adding it to the list.

Quit Twitter better with these free tools that make archiving a breeze by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

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