I’ve had a renewed interest in my data lately, and that’s manifested itself in making sure I’ve got copies of my data. Those bits and pieces we so easily create on other web site? I want them. I want them “here”, where here is under my own control, on my own site, my own server, not just living in the cloud somewhere, at the whim of some 3rd party.
See, I’ve been using Twitter for a long time… since September 2006 supposedly. I’d love to go back and see what my first dozen tweets look like, but Twitter doesn’t allow that. I’ve been kicking myself for not saving all of that data since the beginning, but with micro-content you tend to think that a. It’s tiny, so it doesn’t matter, and b. It’ll always be there. We’ve learned (time and time again) that this isn’t the case.
About 2 years ago I was doing some Drupal work and set up an aggregator to ingest my Twitter feed, which managed to back up a large portion of my tweets, but not all of them. It was more experimenting with Drupal than trying to create a good backup. Still, I was slightly happier knowing I had some sort of archive. I still wanted something that would display my own content (tweets) on my own site.
I then found Tweet Nest. Developed by Andy Graulund (@graulund) it’s a simple open source PHP/MySQL application that does just what I wanted. It grabs your tweets from Twitter using the API, and stores and displays them on your own site. Perfect!
The install was pretty painless, and I actually spent more time customizing the CSS (and I’m still not happy with what I came up with.) Of course two days after I installed it, it appeared to stop working. But alas, no worries, it was just a “rate limit freakout” with the Twitter API. After that, things have been smooth.
Tweet Nest also did a great job of grabbing all of my tweets as far back as October 2009. Not quite back to September 2006, but I’m starting to think that will never happen. But, I did manage to get tweets as far back as March 2008, thanks to another service called Backupify. Now I’ve got to find a good way to load the data into Tweet Nest, and I’ll have most (but not all) of my tweets stored on my own site.
You can find my archived tweets at rasterweb.net/micro, and just like my recent Delicious/Scuttle/bookmarks exploration, I now feel that much better about my data. (But I’m not stopping there. The next project may take quite a bit more hacking on my part, but it’s another one that’s long overdue.)