Twitter – How to Host your Twitter Archive on Github Pages

Host your Twitter Archive on Github

Did you know that you can download your entire Twitter Archive? If you go to Settings and scroll down to the bottom, you’ll see the option to Request for Your Twitter Archive.

Twitter Archive - where to find

Martin Hawksey (“By day Chief Innovation, Community and Technology Officer at ALT, by night a Google Developer Expert, mashup, social network, analytics, Google Apps Script, data junkie”) came up with a rather elegant script that keeps your Twitter Archive updated every day.  Using Google Apps Script which is powered by Javascript, he was able to tap into and manipulate the Javascript in the Twitter Archive code to make it calculate the tweets that need to be fetched from the Twitter API, and write it back into the  static Archive so that the tweets can be rendered.

The solution he first shared made used of Google Drive’s free hosting. The beauty of his solution was that the script would ensure that Archives were all kept up to date, and hosting it on Google Drive meant that you could share your continually updating Archives with the rest of the world.  Rather brilliant if you ask me!

I discovered Martin’s Twitter Archive solution a long time ago – my Twitter Archive has been up since December 2015.

I was naturally concerned when I saw this tweet from Amit Agarwal –  that 6m websites in India would be affected because Google Drive will no longer offer free hosting.

Martin did not take long to come up with an alternative. And when he announced his Github solution, I was chuffed as punch!

For those new to Git, Martin has left detailed instructions and a video on his web page showing how to set this up on Github. 

You can also see the very first Github page that I built. This was the first website I made with “real code” and I did it the hard core way – using the command line and the Terminal Shell.  Check out the even cooler pages that I was able to fork like this, and this, and this.  (After all, why learn to code when you can just fork ☺️)

Github Education’s Student Package

Hosting it on Github is also a perfect excuse for me to harp on about Github Education’s amazing student bundle as I have been trying, with limited luck, to convince young but lazy ass Singaporean University students to sign up for Github Education’s extremely generous student package (worth over $2,000 including a free .me domain) to start building their digital presence / portfolios.

Some of you may not know this but many schools  around the world are using Twitter in the classroom (in many Universities and some Middle Schools and High Schools as well).   In fact, students in Singapore have been tweeting in the classroom since 2012  (watch this video interview by Edutopia).

I recently saw a UK university lecturer use Twitter as a playground for students to  develop their professional voice and conduct by arranging sessions where they get to tweet to well-known academics and professors.

In the US, parents are even more tech savvy and some are asking their high school students to start networking and  cultivating professors at Harvard, Stanford, etc.  Why? Because your tweets get indexed by Google.

Who do you think a Harvard Admissions officer is more likely to admit? Someone with a private Instagram account and not much else or a student who has their own blog or a personal website or some form of curated content – be it a music playlist or a photography collection or a bookshelf or a digital art portfolio?  And can be seen asking questions and networking with professors via Twitter?  Even if Harvard doesn’t take you,  every other admissions officer  who Googles you can see the network and presence you’ve established

(And that is precisely why I have already secured personal domains and matching Twitter / Instagram handles for the kids of all my close friends. Go ahead, roll your eyes, we’ll see who’s laughing when your  kids can’t find a good user name and ends up with a string of numbers like your passport)

Laugh at my Silly Tweets

One of the nice things about having your archive hosted is that you can take a walk down memory lane and review your old tweets.

You can laugh at all the early tweets I sent when I first joined Twitter in March 2015. I am not the type that will deliberately delete tweets to make my timeline look artificially clean – so all my stupid mistakes are still there for everyone to learn from!  It is clear from the chart on the right that I was fairly inactive in March – May 2015.

Twitter Archive March 2015

It was only at the end of May when Hubspot published a guide on How to Get Your First 1,000 Twitter followers that I started taking Twitter seriously and #TweetingSmarter.

Twitter Archive May 2015

From 0-1,000: How I got my first 1,000 Followers on Twitter

No automation, no scripts, no bots. Just good old fashioned tweeting! And I didn’t even know 90% of the people I was tweeting to. From the day Hubspot published their post, only took 20 days to get to 1,000 followers.

Which is why I don’t laugh at people who do this too. Because I remember how excited I was when I got my first 1,000 followers on Twitter.

Go ahead go have a poke through my archives. All the stupid mistakes I made are there, along with all the things I did right.

Then get yours hosted and tweet the link to me so I can go  have a laugh at your tweets!

More on data visualisations coming up as well!

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