Twitter Archives And IFTTT

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Twitter, Google Drive and IFTTT made my day about a week ago. I found out that a new Google Drive channel had been added to IFTTT that enabled me to archive tweets via a spreadsheet – I was specifically looking for something that replaced the service Twapperkeeper used to provide. This was a perfect and straight forward solution for me. Fantastic! Then a few days later I found out that all the Twitter triggers in IFTTT (those that enable the archiving to work) have to be removed to comply with Twitter’s terms of service. This is a Twitter decision, not an IFTTT decision. This includes any method of archiving, not just via Google Drive spreadsheets. It’s pretty disappointing that Twitter have taken this stance, as it seems as if they’re happy with people providing content for their network, but aren’t keen to freely et the content go anywhere else once it’s been passed onto them. And before anyone tells me to stop complaining about a free service – I understand that Twitter is a free service. I appreciate that and I also appreciate that Twitter is a service that’s very useful to me, but at the same time if users hadn’t provided the content they do provide, then Twitter would not be as successful as it is. In fact, without free content from the users it would have flopped, in the same way that other microblogging services flopped. It’s ironic that part of its success – its open attitude in the early days that allowed data to be pulled out of the service easily, as well as sent to it – is being gradually closed down. Now it seems as if the traffic is all one way. Wouldn’t it be good if Twitter provided the service that suited its users and content creators and not just itself. In fact, I’d even be happy to pay for that service.

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No More Access To Your Twapper Keeper Archives

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Yesterday I found out via a friend on Twitter that Hootsuite had acquired Twapper keeper in September.

If you don’t know, Twapper keeper is a service that allows you to archive tweets. I use this service quite a bit and paid for the upgrade, so that I could archive more than the free account would allow me to. It’s a great service and I’m pleased that Hootsuite has realised how useful it is too – it’s just a shame that the first time I’d heard that it had been bought was yesterday – there’s been no announcement on the Twapper keeper blog about this. The site does now include a message though…

“Dec 8th, 2011: Transition update

Twapper Keeper’s archiving is now available in HootSuite! As a result, we will be shutting down Twapper Keeper. Existing archives will be kept running until Jan 6, 2012, after which you will not be able to access your archives anymore.

Thanks for using TwapperKeeper – we look forward to seeing you at HootSuite.”

“Oh good! It’s available in Hootsuite,” I thought, but I also saw the “you will not be able to access your archives anymore.” bit too.

Panic stations! What will happen to my archives? Will they be deleted? Maybe they’ll be available in Hootsuite?

In an attempt to find out, I left a comment on the Hootsuite blog yesterday.

Comment on Hootsuite blog post “HootSuite Announces 3 Million in Financing, Strategic Acquisition and Executive Team Appointments”

As a frequent user of Twapperkeeper can you tell me:
1) How will this integration happen?
2) Will it be available for the free Hootsuite accounts?
3) What will happen to the archives I have created on the Twapperkeeper site? I don’t want to lose any of them. If I do lose them it would have been a total waste of time me setting them up, especially as I paid to do so.

The response pointed me to their feedback site asking for suggestions about integrating Twapper keeper with Hootsuite, so I left these 2 suggestions – one regarding access to existing Twapper keeper archives and another suggesting ideas for development on the service, as I really feel Hootsuite could do something with Twapper keeper’s original idea.
Maintain access to existing archives that have been created on Twapperkeeper.

Twapperkeeper is often used to archive tweets for conferences and events – the tweets are used to document the event/conference and are accessed not only around that time, but also at later dates.

Due to changes in Twitter’s terms of service, users have not been able to download these archives for some time and therefore the only way these archives can can be accessed and manipulated is via the Twapperkeeper sites RSS & HTML archive links.

Can Hootsuite provide access to these existing archives in some form, so that they can be read and shared with other non Hootsuite users?

Ideas for Twapper keeper integration.

1) Allow Twapper keeper archives to be made public or private.

2) Allow the sharing of Twapper keeper archives to a broad range of external services. eg Twitter; Facebook; G+; Delicious; Tumblr…

3) Provide each archive with an RSS/XML output feed containing details of individual tweets eg status text, twitter name, status id, date stamp, etc.

4) Update archives regularly ie once an hour – or allow users to define how often the archive should be updated.

5) Allow archives to be created from any search functionality that Twitter currently provides, including lists.

6) Make Twapper keeper archive functionality available for free Hootsuite accounts as well as paid.

7) Allow filtering of tweets in archive using similar criteria as existing filters in Twapper keeper’s “Search” function.

8) Expand archiving function to other services available in Hootsuite eg Facebook, Linkedin, Tumblr, WordPress, etc.

9) Re. 8 – allow archives from different services to be combined into a single archive if desired.

10) Provide capability to mark and share favourite tweets (or posts if option 8 exists) in an archive.

11) Add tags (hashtags?) to archive upon creation and allow them to be subsequently amended.

12) Add description of archive and allow it to be subesequently amended

13) Ability to cross reference archives, for example (a) if you click on a person whose tweet has been archived, display all of the other archives they are linked to ie anywhere their tweets have been archived – this might be useful to highlight expertise or interests of individual users. (b) If any of the tweets appears in any other archive too.

14) Allow capability to bundle together archives in themes.

That made me feel better…

but I’ve just seen this tweet – sent today from the Twapper keeper account.

TwapperKeeper fans: archiving services are now migrated to HootSuite.com and available to #HootSuite Pro customers c/@hootsuite_help

So the archives are available to those who will pay $5.99 a month! What about the money I and other people have paid to Twapper keeper to set up our original archives? If we can’t access these archives any more there was no point in them being set up in the first place.
My problem isn’t so much that I can’t archive anything any more, because there are alternatives (eg The Archivist), but those services don’t give me a live RSS output (which is my main method of accessing and reusing tweets from Twapper keeper) and those services won’t provide existing Twapper keeper users with a back-catalogue of our archives in a nice clean format.
Some clever techy person with better programming skills than me will no doubt be able to pull out and save their full archives in an elegant way, but I think I’m going to have to resort to doing a bit of Gary clunky tinkering to get mine and then see if I can reformat them at a later date.
In the long-term I will find a way around this, and I do appreciate the service Twapper keeper has provided me over the past couple of years – irrespective of whether I’ll be able to access my existing archives in future, or not, it has been extremely useful – and John (who created Twapper keeper) has been extremely helpful whenever I’ve had any questions or needed help.
However, it would have been nice to have known that this was happening sooner – and I don’t mean the two tweets that happened in September. Couldn’t it have been announced on the Twapper keeper blog at the same time? Hootsuite announced it on theirs… but if you’re not a Hootsuite user how would you have known?