UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Alternatives To Twapper Keeper

Posted by Brian Kelly on 5 Jan 2012


On 23 December I received an email which confirmed the news about the forthcoming demise of the Twapper Keeper Twitter archiving service:

First off, on January 6th 2012, the site, and all related archives, will be shutdown with no access to any existing archives. Please ensure you have compiled all of your data by this date.

What should you do if you wish to continue keeping an archive of tweets, especially for event-related tweets which seems to be one particularly valuable use case?

One solution is to use Twapper Keeper! Or perhaps I should say Your Twapper Keeper, the open source version of Twapper Keeper. As part of the developments to the Twapper Keeper service the software was made available under an open source software licence in order to decouple the provision of the service from the software used to provide the service. Anyone, therefore is free to download the software from the Github repository and set up their own Twitter archive.

For those who have warned about the risks of dependencies on third party services for which there are no formal contractual agreements this example perhaps demonstrates the value of funding the development of an open source alternative. But is this really the case? Will institutions be downloading the software in order to be able to manage their own archives? I see no evidence that this is having, but I’d like to be proved wrong.

Perhaps this is a case for which an easy-to-use proprietary solution is all that is needed, especially since the content is typically not created primarily be members of a specific institution but, in the case of event-related Twitter archives, attendees at an event who are likely to be based across the sector rather than at a single institution.

On the Event Amplifier blog in a post entitled Goodbye Twapper Keeper Kirsty Pitkin explores the possibility of using Hoot Suite, the company which purchased Twapper Keeper, for managing Twitter archives. However Kirsty has described the financial implications of such a decision:

A Pro customer (paying $5.99 per month) can archive only a measly 100 tweets, or purchase a bolt on to archive up to “100,000 tweets and download all keyword related Twitter messages”. When I attempted to upgrade my plan, I found that 10,000 additional tweets would cost me $10 per month, and 100,000 additional tweets would cost me $50 per month.

But in addition to the options of installing the Your Twapper Keeper software or purchasing an appropriate account from HootSuite, Kirsty has highlighted an alternative approach: “Martin Hawksey is a master of Google Spreadsheet tools and has created this alternative method of collecting tweets and has provided detailed instructions to archive and visualise Twitter conversations around an event hashtag“.

Martin has helpfully provided a video which is available on YouTube and embedded below which describes how to use his solution.

It will be interesting to see which, if any, of these options proves the most popular solution across the sector: the open source solution, the subscription service, the Google solution or possibly an approach I haven’t described. Which will you be choosing?

Twitter conversation from Topsy: [View]


9 Responses to “Alternatives To Twapper Keeper”

  1. Brian, we have been using, which allows you to export your tweets in any of the following formats: csv file, RSS, text file, html. An alternative is, which allows you to backup as a csv file only. Have never used twapper keeper, so am not aware of what it might have offered over and above
    Eddie Byrne,
    Dublin City Public Libraries

    • Hi Eddie
      Tweetbackup and Tweetake (along with Backupmytweets, which I use) can me used to backup tweets posted from your own Twitter account. Twapper Keeper was used primarily to backup tweets for a hashtag which may have been posted by multiple users. Twapper Keeper was often used to keep a record of event tweets, such as #ILI2011.

  2. lescarr said

    Another alternative will soon be to use your institutional repository…

    We’ve got a beta version out at the moment in the EPrints Bazaar, but we’re testing the final version to make sure that it can resiliently handle sustained high rates of tweeting and large collections of millions of tweets.

    I’m afraid we succumbed to the silly Twitter naming convention – it’s called Tweepository.

  3. mhawksey said

    Thanks Brian for highlighting my Google Spreadsheet solution! Hopefully others, like John O’Brien (creator of Twapper Keeper), will “love the simplicity of the google spreadsheet solution” [ref] ;)

    There is still more value to be gained from hashtag archives. In many cases they are as rice if not richer resources than the official conference proceedings (an advantage of using Google Spreadsheets is they sit in the cloud and can be used as an open data source for others to mash and hack).


  4. The Archivist ( is also worth a look if you install an instance of your own (export now disabled from hosted version:

  5. mhawksey said

    Just to let your reader know there is a new version of this Spreadsheet soultion. Improved code, more features including a better dashboard view (here’s what dev8d looks like )


  6. Pat said

    Hi Brian,
    Been thinking for a while about twitter in education – especially stuff like twitter journal clubs – – as an example.
    So I made a WordPress plugin to archive tweets, and display them nicely – so it’s a storify and twapper keeper – although if you want to store a very popular term – it’s probably not going to be fast enough (it searches once every two minutes – as long as some one is on the site).

    Links for those who are interested



  7. […] is yes. Twitter doesn’t make it very easy to archive tweets, and indeed deletes them. Brian Kelly has a post and ensuing discussion about curating alternatives. Meanwhile, I’ve used Storify to order the tweets and add commentary. It makes it easy to […]

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