Explore Your Twitter Archive With Tweet Library

I haven’t been on Twitter as long as some people. In fact, I joined Twitter only when Apple integrated it into iOS 5. A little reluctantly (and with more than a hint of trepidation), I signed up. Since then, Twitter has been an on-again/off-again relationship. When it’s good, it’s great, and when it’s bad, Twitter gets neglected. But I do really like Twitter and I love the apps that come along with it.

I’ve been trying to find the best way to read through my old tweets and conversations with friends and colleagues for a while now. Maybe I’d find a joke I made that I thought was hilarious (or not funny at all, on the other hand). Maybe I could find that brief conversation about iTunes I had with Rian Johnson, the writer/director of Looper. Mostly, I wanted a great way to be nostalgic. I tried a few different apps, but finally found what I wanted in Tweet Library.

What Makes Tweet Library Special

Tweet Library is a well-designed curation tool for Twitter that feels easy to use despite some of its advanced features. That’s the finest compliment I can give it off the bat: This thing is filled to the truckload with archive and curation features, but it’s all presented within an easy-to-navigate user interface. That’s rare for too many apps these days.

It's not beautiful, but it's highly functional.

It’s not beautiful, but it’s highly functional.

Let’s start with the obvious feature: Tweet Library allows you to view an archive of all of your tweets. The app will download 3,200 of your tweets when it first launches, but for some of us that likely won’t be enough (especially if you’re a die-hard Twitter user). In the likely case that it isn’t enough, you can request an archive of your tweets from Twitter and save them into a special Dropbox folder created by the app. Importing your archive is the most painful part of using the app, but it’s worth it.

Importing your archive stores it locally on your iOS device. It doesn’t take up a ton of space (after all, these are basically glorified text files), so you don’t have to worry about losing room on your device. And because it’s stored locally, everything becomes quickly searchable. I typed a friend’s user name and everything I’ve ever said with him popped up immediately until I found the corresponding tweet I wanted.

It took me less than half a second to find these tweets.

It took me less than half a second to find these tweets.

Maybe you’re just feeling nostalgic, though. You can browse through everything you’ve ever said on Twitter just by exploring the Calendar view. I was able to find my first tweet pretty much instantly (it’s nothing glorious, by the way), thanks to the fact that everything is stored locally. You’re searching your device’s hard drive and not Twitter’s servers, so it’s insanely fast.

Some people won’t find this functionality at all useful. But it’s a far cry better than what Facebook has done with Timeline, and it’s a lot easier to navigate. Journalists will find it useful to be able to reference old tweets, but others might just be interested in looking through things out of interest.

Collection of Tweets

There are a lot of extra features beyond archive and search. The biggest feature, in my opinion, is the ability to create collections and share them on either Storify or Tweetlibrary.com. Creating a collection is easy. I created one in the menu and then searched for what I wanted to test run this with (some tweets about Google Hangouts). After that, I just copied each tweet I was interested in to the collection.

Starting a new collection is as easy as tapping the button.

Starting a new collection is as easy as tapping the button.

From there, publishing the collection is as easy as tapping the Share button and selecting Storify, Publish, Email or Export. This app is designed to make tweets as easy to share as possible. I have an old roommate who has Twitter, but isn’t on it. I can create a collection of some tweets I know he’d find hilarious and email them to him, just like that. It’s a really nice touch that makes tweeting feel like it has more of a purpose.

My first collection, done in seconds.

My first collection, done in seconds.

There are some other fancy features too, but the big standout is Filters. The two Filters that the app ships with are for pictures and check-ins, but you can add your own filters without a problem. I added one with my own name in it as a query, which brings back all of my mentions. If I’m ever popular enough that people mention me by name out of spite instead of mentioning my @username, I’ll be able to find it and retweet them without a problem. (I’m a bit vindictive.)

Other Standard Twitter Features

Theoretically speaking, you could use Tweet Library as your regular Twitter client as well. It supports multiple accounts, photo uploads and all of the archival features of the app itself. If you want to keep your Timeline in sync, Tweet Marker (another one of Riverfold Software’s excellent products) is supported as well.

All the standby features, like Favourites and (of course) Mentions, are easy to access.

All the standby features, like Favourites and (of course) Mentions, are easy to access.

On both the iPad and the iPhone, I think the user experience is excellent. Tweet Library isn’t as visually inspired as Tweetbot (my Twitter app of choice) or Twitterrific (also excellent), but it has most of the same features and it’s very speedy. Even if it doesn’t become your primary Twitter experience, I highly recommend Tweet Library as a complement to your Twitter workflow.

Should You Really Buy This?

The answer to that question is definitely, if you have a use for it. It’s $7.99, which is more expensive than it used to be thanks to Twitter’s API restrictions, but it’s worth every penny of that and then some. Think about Tweet Library as the fastest way to make sure that your tweets are no longer fleeting moments, but permanent. They become something much more valuable that way.

Beyond that, what you’re really paying for is the support of Riverfold Software’s excellent primary developer, Manton Reece. He’s one of the hardest-working developers out there. He’s consistently on top of customer support and always fixing bugs in his software and developing new features. Your $7.99 ensures his continued support of fantastic apps like Tweet Library, which comes highly recommended.


Summary

Tweet Library is the best app available for handling your Twitter archive. It comes with every feature you'd ever need and some you didn't know you wanted.

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