Deleting Old Tweets
I joined Twitter back in August 2007. At the time I was 18, in my final year of high school. I literally used twitter as an outlet to vent all of my feelings, happy or sad. I dropped a few f bombs here and there. I complained about various things like telcos, sydney trains and broken electronics. I use it to talk/meet new people, in fact I had a relationship with someone I met on twitter for about 4 years. I literally tweeted about anything and everything.
Fast forward to 2020, we now live in a world where your past can come back and haunt you, just about anyone can be a detective and dig through your past. I had accumulated well over 30k tweets over the years and its physically not possible to remember every one of them or every single photo I have posted. There is one thing for sure, the old me was dumb and naive. I actually don’t mind the silliness and embarrassing selfies but what I can not handle is an innocent tweet being turned into a something more sinister. There is also an excellent TEDTalk ” How one tweet can ruin your life” by Jon Ronsons that talks about this. Its well worth a watch.
So how to delete tweets? You can do it manually via the UI and do it one by one or use one of the are many services out there that would delete your old timeline items. Most of them are on a freemium model such as tweetdelete, twitwipe and tweetdeleter. Using these services requires you to sign into your twitter account so please check their privacy statements before using those services. Or finally you can write a script like I did.
delete-old-tweets is a open-source script I wrote almost three years ago to go through your twitter archives and remove the tweets from your timeline. You can specify a cutoff date so any tweets before that date would be deleted from your timeline. You can follow the instructions on the README.md.
Why the gif? This was actually a result of a series of prank wars in the office with a former colleague, the person actually dug through my twitter timeline all the way back till 2011 and found a series of embarrassing selfies I took and stitched them together to make a :benshi: gif. While I wasn’t very happy about it at the time, we laugh over it now.
Next time you post something on the internet, just remember
Once on the internet, always stays on the internet.