Summary:

It’s official: you can now download all your old tweets. What does mean? In the short, a trip down memory lane but, in the long term, a rich cultural treasure.

Pandora box, treasure
photo: Gl0ck

The honchos at Twitter have made good on a promise to let users tap into their tweets from long ago. In a blog post Wednesday morning, the company explained that users who go to the “settings” tab will find instructions on how to download their archive.

It appears to work. My colleague and prolific tweeter, Mathew Ingram, reports that he was able to download his 65,000(!) tweets from 2007 in less than two minutes and that the archive only took up 16MB.

So, what does it mean to unlock babble from long ago? For now, the Twitter archive is a way to indulge in personal nostalgia much like Facebook’s Timeline. But in the long term, these archives will come to be indispensable tools for scholars, statisticians and cultural historians — consider how Twitter feeds have already become analogous to newspapers and diaries.

For now, the archives are available only to the respective user. But to get a feel of the cultural impact of old tweets, check out BuzzFeed’s “The Lost Tweets of the Tech Elite” which features early musings from the likes of David Pogue, Walt Mossberg and a certain Om Malik.

(Image by Gl0ck via Shutterstock)

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