As #RIPTwitter continues to trend on Twitter itself and a legion of engineers and other staffers exit the company, some users are preparing for a world without their accounts.
For those who have lived their lives on the platform for the past decade or more, Twitter going dark could mean seeing years’ worth of digital memories, photos and contacts disappear.
As new owner Elon Musk shakes up seemingly every corner of the company, there are already widespread reports that services that preserve data aren’t functioning properly. Here are steps you can take if you’re worried about losing your Twitter account.
Downloading your Twitter archive
If you want to preserve your past tweets, you can start by downloading your Twitter archive.
Users can download their archive by going to their account setting pages, clicking on the “more” icon and then selecting “Your account” from the options menu. From there, select the “Download an archive of your data” option. You will be asked to enter your password and verify your identity via a code sent to the email address or phone number linked to your account.
After verifying your identity, click on the “Request data” button. Twitter will then email you (or send a push notification on the app) when the download is ready and users can select the “Download” button to access a .zip file of their archive. The data set includes your profile information, your tweets, your Direct Messages, your media (images, videos and GIFs you’ve attached to tweets), a list of your followers, and more.
The company says to make sure your email address is confirmed prior to requesting your Twitter archive, and that you are logged onto your Twitter account on the same browser you are using to download the archive.
Twitter says it may take a few days to prepare the download of your archive.
Be aware, however, that many users are already reporting headaches with the process — ranging from complaints that it’s taking a long time or that it isn’t working for them entirely. Twitter has a step-by-step guide with some (albeit limited) trouble-shooting tips available here.
Staying in touch with Twitter contacts on other platforms
Amid the uncertainty surrounding Twitter, the social media app Mastodon has seen its popularity skyrocket in recent weeks. One of the more difficult aspects of starting over on Mastodon (or likely any platform that might emerge as an alternative) for many has been finding the people they followed on Twitter on the new platform.
So far, much of the legwork has to be done manually, but Mastodon creator Eugen Rochko previously told CNN Business that he’s thinking about how to improve this experience of finding contacts as people migrate over from Twitter. Some other tools have emerged, such as Twitodon, which helps users find their Twitter followers and the accounts they followed on Mastodon.
Some are also taking a more basic step: tweeting their usernames on other social platforms so that anyone who follows them on Twitter can find them there. The hashtag #TwitterMigration has erupted as a way for people to signal they are on the way out — and offer other accounts to stay in touch.