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I’m Taking Ownership of My Tweets
project

I’ve invested a lot into Twitter and I’ve received a lot of value from Twitter. I’ve made a lot of friends and professional connections on the site. I’ll be sad when Twitter goes away. Without a doubt, it will go away. It’s only a question of when.

I fully expect my personal website to outlive Twitter and as such have decided to take full ownership of the content I’ve posted there. In true IndieWeb fashion, I’m taking ownership of my data.

Check out an early release of @zachleat’s Twitter Archive

Features

  • Each tweet has its own independent page: zachleat.com/twitter/:id.
    • If you have an existing URL to one of my tweets, you can easily translate it to my self hosted version.
      twitter.com/zachleat/status/905054076408393729 becomes zachleat.com/twitter/905054076408393729
    • This was also a very interesting stress test for Eleventy, as it generates 27K pages with every run of the build 😲
    • Each tweet page has some nice pagination links at the top to navigate between tweets (historically).
  • Super fast HTML first rendering (that tweet is 2.0 KB for the entire page)
  • Focus on the text first and less on the media. Links to external media are included (sample) and Videos, images, and animated GIFs are supported. Media are not self hosted (yet) and uses a max-height of 10em. All media are scrunched into a single row. Media is not upscaled like Twitter likes to do on their web site 😱
  • Links:
    • t.co links are bypassed and original hyperlinks URLs are displayed and used.
    • Things are linkified the same as on Twitter: users, tweets being replied to, nicer non-truncated URLs
    • Nicer link formatting for links-to-tweets: @username/:id.
    • Internal links to my own tweets stay within the archive and don’t link out to Twitter.
  • My tweets are threaded (both forwards and backwards) (sample)
  • While I could display favorite and retweet counts, I don’t on individual tweet pages. I only display those on the popular tweet page.
  • Positive and negative sentiment analysis for each tweet (e.g. Mood +8). See the most positive and most negative tweets.
  • Support some markdown: I sometimes use `backtick` markdown notation for code in my tweet text. This translates to <code> properly.
  • Works initially from the Download your Twitter data feature, but also supplements with the Twitter API to update as new tweets are published (that way I don’t have to keep re-exporting every time).

Analytics

All of these are linked up on the Twitter Archive home page. The only thing that surprised me here was that 60% of my tweets are replies—wow!

The Backlog 😅

  • alt on media. It was suspiciously missing from the data export. 😱
  • Clean up the code a little bit for publishing so others can use it (this includes some outstanding color contrast issues 😱)
  • Use a better typeface 😎
  • Some kinda widget for embedding archive tweets in other pages.
  • Make a tool (maybe a bookmarklet) to automatically translate URLs from twitter to my archive.
  • Search
  • I purposefully do not include others tweets (unless I’ve retweeted them). I need to add a mechanism to remove retweets if they have been deleted upstream.
  • Retweet and favorite counts, while minimized, are not yet updated—they are fixed to when the tweet was inserted into the database.
  • Hashtags are not yet linked in tweet text 🤷‍♂️
  • Some nicer data visualizations and graphs
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