Friday, August 5, 2011

Where Tweets go to die @Twitter (#edtech #HGSEPZFOL)

Following up my previous post on helping to facilitate a group synthesis at Harvard, I will now express my frustrations with Twitter. As beautiful and valuable as I have found the tool to be, today it disappointed me.

Simply put - it sucked.

Here's why: you can't archive your tweets in Twitter. You can't even search back far enough (a few days, depending on the volume of tweeting you do) to manually get them all and copy/paste them out. I've spent at least 4 or 5 hours in the past 24 attempting to find a workaround for this, with little success. Evidently, Twitter modified their API recently to disallow this type of feature.

Here's what I want to do: create an archive of the #HGSEPZFOL tag. This is the Harvard FOL tag we used during this past week's ed conference, and a number of us want to be able to return to the stream and parse it for ideas, links, and conversations. After all, as educators, we like to reflect. And, in this age of super-fast info, we sometimes need to go back to something repeatedly before it sinks in. Call it a human thing.

I have been tweeting out various 3rd party programs as I have come across them, but nothing seems to work yet. Two programs, KeepStream and TwapperKeeper, seem to have potential, but do not quite do what I need. I was able to capture about three days' worth of tweets and clip them to Evernote (careful: it's a 5mb file), but that is still not all of them.

Frustrating at the minimum, damaging at the worst. From what I've read, the old tweets phase out of the servers after a few weeks. That's just stupid. In a day and age of being connected, why can't we access old streams? Why is this so damn complicated?

If ANYONE has ANY ideas, I'll take them. Please.

If not, Twitter, wake the hell up and see how your product is being used. We need more functionality and flexibility, not less.