By Catherine Thorbecke | CNN
As #RIPTwitter continues to trend on Twitter and a legion of engineers and other staff leave the company, some users are bracing for a world without their accounts.
For those who have lived their lives on the platform for the past decade or more, the obscuration of Twitter could mean the disappearance of years of digital memories, photos, and contacts.
As new owner Elon Musk shakes up seemingly every corner of the company, there are already widespread reports that services that preserve data are not working properly. Here are the steps he can take if he is worried about losing his Twitter account.
Downloading your Twitter file
If you want to keep your old tweets, you can start by downloading your Twitter archive.
Users can download their file by going to their account settings pages, clicking the “plus” icon, and then selecting “Your Account” from the options menu. From there, select the “Download a file 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 you a push notification in the app) when the download is ready and users can select the “Download” button to access a .zip file of your file. 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 before requesting your Twitter file, and that you’re logged into your Twitter account in the same browser you’re using to download the file.
Twitter says it may take a few days to prepare to download your file.
Keep in mind, however, that many users are already reporting headaches with the process, ranging from complaints that it’s taking a long time to not working for them at all. Twitter has a step-by-step guide with some (albeit limited) troubleshooting tips available. here.
Stay 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 most difficult aspects of starting over on Mastodon (or likely any platform that may 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 contact-finding experience as people migrate from Twitter. Other tools have emerged, such as Twitodon, which helps users find their Twitter followers and the accounts they follow 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 #TwitterMigration hashtag has exploded as a way for people to indicate they are dating and offer other accounts to stay in touch.