App Review: Tweet Keeper
It's notoriously hard to get your tweets out of Twitter. There's no export function for the service, and slowly scrolling your way back through history often just stops after a certain point. Fortunately, that's where an app called Tweet Keeper steps in.
Zara Baxter | Monday, September 03 2012
Product type: App
RRP incl GST: $2.59
- iPhone app to save Tweets
- Stores tweets from up to 8 usernames
- Export functions are limited
Saves your tweets and those of up to 7 other accounts
It's notoriously hard to get your tweets out of Twitter. There's no export function for the service, and slowly scrolling your way back through history often just stops after a certain point.
Fortunately, that's where an app called Tweet Keeper ($2.59, for iPhone) steps in.
It lets you enter a Twitter account name to retrieve a backlog of tweets, and then save any new tweets.
Tweet Keeper doesn't require you to be the owner of the Twitter accounts that get saved, so you can save tweets from any account. Tweet Keeper says that if you want to save the tweets for a private account, you'll need to be a follower. However, when I tried to add a private account I follow (and own), it didn't seem to work. Then again, that's probably a good thing - I was suddenly struck with a pang of guilt that I would be able to send all of someone's private tweets to someone who wasn't a follower.
There's a limit of eight accounts that you can follow at a single time. If you want to save more than eight accounts, you can always follow one, get the backlog of tweets, export it, and then grab the next. The backlog that Tweet Keeper can pull from Twitter's history is 3200 tweets, from our experimenting. When I added a less prolific user, it pulled their entire backlog of tweets, stretching back to 2008; the backlog limit of 3200 is a numeric limit, not a time-based one. Additionally, a new tweet to an account that already had 3200 resulted in a total of 3201 tweets saved - that 3200 is not a hard limit of all the tweets that can possibly be saved, just the backlog you can retrieve.
Even for prolific tweeters, that's likely to be at least six months' worth of tweeting, so you can be a bit creative in retrieving backlogs every once in a while to track far more accounts than the basic eight.
Of course, having all those tweets in an app is no good unless that app can be somehow exported, searched or otherwise used.
In the app, just click on a user name to see their entire history of tweets. You can search within the tweets for any word. When I searched for 'beer' in my Twitter account, for example, it pulled up every tweet with a mention of beer in it, as you'd expect. I would have liked to know how many tweets it retrieved in the search, but it didn't provide that information. Similarly disappointing: a search for 'beer hop' or 'beer + hop' found nothing - apparently multiword searches don't work unless you type in the exact phrase used in a tweet, such as 'hoppy beer'.
If you click on the share/export icon when viewing a username's associated tweets, you get the option to export saved tweets.
You can export as a text file, as a spreadsheet file or as the raw JSON file.
If you export as a text file, you get a few options, such as choosing to export only @replies or only @retweets and including a source link. However, we were disappointed that you couldn't export the results of a search only. Editing a text file manually for that would be a pain in the butt - particularly since the exported file is plain text.
Having said that, you can either preview it on the phone, print it, or email it to someone.
The way around the inability to export just those tweets that include a search term is to export as a spreadsheet file. With a spreadsheet, you get no options - the entire kit and kaboodle of tweet history is exported as a tab delimited text file, suitable to import into a program like Excel or Google Docs. From there, in a third party app, you can filter, sort or otherwise grab just the parts you need; it's not very neat.
The app is okay, and definitely serves a useful purpose, but I feel as though it needs a few more bells and whistles to be really useful. Still, for now it gets a passing grade.
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