The news that Twitter has made its entire archive searchable may have caused you to cheer loudly or break out in a cold sweat. If it’s the latter, don’t panic just yet — locating and deleting your old tweets isn’t too difficult. Read on to find out how to take advantage of Twitter’s newly expanded search capabilities and erase those old embarrassing tweets if you need to.
On the surface, not too much has changed. Older tweets will start appearing in the All tab on searches, but unless you’re prepared to do an awful lot of scrolling or you’ve run a very specific query, you won’t see too many ancient tweets. The ability to search for tweets by date was added in April, so the only real change is that you can now go right back to when it all started: March 21, 2006.
You can search by date using the advanced search page or by entering the
since:2006-03-21 until:2014-11-20 operators in the Twitter search field (that will look at tweets from the launch of Twitter until today). You don’t want a search that returns every tweet ever posted though, so you’ll have to enter some keywords or a specific username. again this can be done via operators in the search field or through the advanced search page if you want an easier life.
To find out if I’ve ever said anything incriminating about the Queen, I’d use the string
the queen from:davidnield since:2006-03-21 until:2014-11-20Adjust the text accordingly based on your Twitter handle, the dates you want to look at, and the topics you think you might have been babbling on about a little too much in your time on the microblogging platform.
If your views on the Clintons have changed in the last eight years, for example, or you had a particularly outrageous birthday party back in ’07, then you might want to do a bit of retrospective housekeeping. You’ll find the Delete Tweet option hidden behind the menu button (three horizontal dots) on every individual post on your timeline.
Of course, it’s a good rule of thumb never to put anything on Twitter that you don’t want the entire world to see anyway, but with the whole archive now available for searching it’s worth knowing how to clean up after yourself. Another option is to download your Twitter archive to your computer. You’ll be given a HTML and CSV files that are even easier to search than the online interface. If you find any shameful tweets, you can switch to the Web versions to delete them.
Picture: a href=”http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-762415p1.html”>Gil C/Shutterstock