My First Twitter Message

We all have life’s most embarrassing moments.

With the miracle of technology, connectivity, and social media, we can now share them online.  And, as we tell our students (or should be telling our students), what goes online stays there forever.  Somewhere, somehow.

Twitter now has the ability for you to view your entire Twitter history.  It seems so long ago when I was just a squeak in the big Twitter scheme of things.  Like most people, I suspect, I created the account from curiosity just to see what it was all about.  Now, I knew that anything that you post stays online forever, so I didn’t want my first tweet to be something lame like “testing…testing…testing…is this thing on?”

From that first Twitter message, I went on to create a wonderful community of people that I learn from daily.  It has been singularly the best thing that I’ve done for myself.  I’ve been in many a district sponsored workshop that’s great for the hour or two hours that you’re there but much gets forgotten by the time I’ve driven home.  Learning online, daily, consistently really ups the ante.  I value what I learn so much.

I also recall how others react when they originally find out that I’ve been using the technology.  Probably the most visual of moments was during an OTF Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century.  Will Richardson was the keynote speaker and we’d known each other for a while so I guess he felt I was fair game, bringing up my Twitter profile and showing the audience that I had 600 followers and I was following 400.  Without naming names, the OTF person in front of me immediately snapped her head around and asked “how do you find time to do all that reading”.  The answer is, of course, that it’s impossible.  You turn on and catch what you need as it flies by or you go searching or you use Twitter lists.  Needless to say, the number of messages, followers and followings has increased a bit since then.

So, how do you find your first Twitter message?

Twitter only makes about the last few thousand of your messages easily available and accessible to you.  If you fall into that category, a utility like twopcharts.com will do the deed for you nicely.  But, if you have more messages than that, you need to go a little further and Twitter itself has you covered.

Log into your Twitter account on the web, click on the gear icon and go to your Settings.  Scroll to the very bottom and there’s an option to request your Twitter archive.  Request it, and sit back.  Twitter will take a few moments to create an archive of things and you’ll get an opportunity to download your entire Twitter history in a zip archive.

Unzip it to find the following contents.

Open the index.html file and your browser will reveal an interface to everything that you’ve ever done, nicely organized by year and by month.  Check out the little bar graphs to see where you were most active.  I would suspect that, like me, you started slowly until you “got” it and then kept steam rolling.

That’s quite an introduction to finally get to the point.  What was Doug’s “First Twitter Message”?  It was August 23, 2007 and was the cryptic…

How lame is that?  Six years later, I have no idea what that was about.  It must have been quite a storm because my second Twitter message didn’t happen until December 2007.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

It looks like 2008 was the year that I personally really “got it”.

Biggest month, judged visually, was September 2012 with 1,215 messages.

It’s Sunday morning, if you’re first reading this.  Why not take a few minutes to download your own Twitter archive and do a little self analysis?

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Beautiful Statistics and Storytelling | doug --- off the record

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