You can probably think of some good reasons to archive your Twitter messages (or someone else’s). Printing a Twitter feed is an effective way to do it. Whether you want to have a hard copy of useful or entertaining tweets, or whether you worry about the possibility of Twitter losing part or all of your message history, read on to discover the most effective ways to save Twitter timelines in print.
Twitter’s Web interface does not provide an option to print a feed, so you have several options to consider. I’ll outline the pros and cons of each below.
Printing From Your Browser
Pull up the Twitter feed you want to preserve, and print it using your browser’s Print command. You can also select, copy, and paste the information you want into a word processor and print from there.
Pros: Fast and simple.
Cons: Typically you’ll lose or distort the formatting when you print this way. As a result, the printed output will probably be more challenging to read. If you choose to print all of the images and the background, you will rapidly deplete your ink supply. To see and print more than the first page of the feed, you need to spend time clicking the More button at the bottom of the screen.
Best use: Printing the most recent posts of any Twitter timeline, in a quick-and-dirty way.
Searchtastic is a service that allows you to search and export tweets by user or by keyword. To export a complete Twitter feed, visit the Searchtastic site. Enter any Twitter account’s login name into the top box, and click the Search button. On the next page, click Excel Export, enter the number you’re given to start the download, and save the file to your computer. You can now open and print the file from Excel.
Pros: The process is fast, and the output is organized and complete. You don’t need to have a Twitter account to use it. And it’s free.
Cons: Retweets are not included in the output. Twitter’s formatting is removed. Some very long Twitter feeds are truncated after the first few thousand results.
Best use: Archiving all the necessary details of a feed quickly and anonymously.
Using an OAuth Application
The Open Authorization (OAuth) protocol allows you to grant an application access to your Twitter account without revealing your password to that application. Granting OAuth access means that an application can find, pull, and organize information from your Twitter account just as you can (but much more quickly).
Some examples to try: Tweetake exports and prints your tweets in CSV format. TweetBackup exports and prints your tweets in a variety of formats. TweetScan Backup exports and prints your timeline in TiddlyWiki format. TwitPrint prints your tweets and those of your friends, including pictures. TwDocs exports and prints timelines in many formats.
None of these options allow you to view protected accounts to which you don’t have access, however. I suggest trying Searchtastic first, because it doesn’t require any of your credentials to function. If you need more than it can provide, try another application.
Pros: Many OAuth applications can update the archive of a feed constantly, so your printed output will always be up-to-date. OAuth applications offer many export format options that are all printable. The process is free, fast, and simple.
Cons: You must allow an application access to your data. Most applications permit you to back up only your own feed. Some applications require that you follow them on Twitter in order to use the service.
Best use: Generating output with more options than an anonymous service provides.