Information goes by quickly on Twitter – so quickly that sometimes you might feel like you need to save some of those useful tweets (and links included in those tweets) for later.
Collect interesting tweets using the favorites function
Twitter provides a function called favorites that allows you to click on a little hollow star icon to copy a specific tweet to your favorites feed. Your favorites feed has its own web address; just add /favorites to your twitter address. For example, CIT’s favorites feed page is https://twitter.com/dukecit/favorites.
This can be a great option for faculty who want their students to see an ongoing list of tweets and links that might be relevant to a course. Just set up a Twitter account for a course (or use your own if you prefer) and start collecting and ‘favoriting’ interesting tweets. Students can visit your favorites page directly, or even subscribe to your favorites feed using an RSS reader like Google Reader.
Collect and archive Twitter discussions
People participating in ongoing Twitter discussions focused on particular topics often use hashtags (#) to designate a particular tweet as being part of that conversation. Conveniently, hashtags can make searching Twitter for a particular discussion easier as well. A service called Twapper Keeper provides a way to either create new archives for hashtag searches or just access previously stored archives. The image below shows a Twapper Keeper search for the #iran hashtag archive.
Saving web links you share via Twitter
Many of us use Twitter to share links with our social networks. However, what happens when you want to go back and search for a particular link? You can go look through your recent Tweet history, or you could try using a social bookmarking tool. Social bookmarking tools like Diigo and delicious already exist to help you save and share URLs to websites – so why not try to incorporate them into your Twitter workflow?
The methods for using each service (Diigo and delicious) with Twitter are a bit different. For Diigo, you capture a link into Diigo (using the Diigo toolbar add-on) and then choose to tweet that link.
To capture your links using delicious, you’ll need Firefox and a small add-on for Firefox called Tweecious. Once you’ve added Tweecious to your Firefox browser, you’ll be prompted to enter your delicious and Twitter account info. Tweecious will then scan your Twitter account for any tweet you create that also includes a link and will post that link to delicious with the added tag ‘Tweecious’. I’ve been using this for a few weeks, and it does work (see image below).
If you’re not really all that interested in social bookmarking and just want a list of the links you’ve sent using Twitter, you might also consider creating an account with one of the URL shorteners which many Twitter apps use to shorten the length of a URL to make the link fit in Twitter’s 140 character limit. If you’ve used Twitter, you’ll no doubt recognize URLs from the likes of bit.ly. If you sign up for a bit.ly account, you can shorten and track your tweeted links as you go. You can even send tweets directly from bit.ly, or copy/paste their API key into several Twitter apps to track links you tweet using their interface.
Backing up your entire Twitter account
Finally, sometimes you just want to download everything into an Excel spreadsheet (or another application that accepts CSV files). Using Tweetake, you can download tweets from your own account or the accounts of you and all of your followers as one large text-based data file. Load that file into Excel and search and sort it to your heart’s content.
For more useful suggestions for collecting and/or archiving tweets, see ReadWriteWeb.