Recently Twitter has been paying close attention to 3rd party developer use of their API. First they stopped whitelisting new applications, then UberSocial and Twitdroid were suspended for terms of service violations, now the popular tweet archiving service TwapperKeeper announced that they will be removing export and API access in response to a request from Twitter.
Fortunately TwapperKeeper has been given until the 20th March to comply, but this is still a blow for 4th party developers, like myself, who build applications around the TwapperKeeper archive/API and will no longer have an easy way to grab historic tweets. Part of the problem is Twitter provides no easy access to collections of tweets over 5 days old necessitating the need for services like TwapperKeeper, so it’s discontinuation is going to cause headaches for some.
Personally, when developing my Twitter Subtitling service iTitle I was keen to make sure data could be used from various sources starting with the official Twitter Search results and TwapperKeeper integration, later adding support for .CSV file upload. Most recently I added support for my Google Spreadsheet/Twitter Search collection mashup [BTW after feedback from @AJCann there is now a setup video for this on YouTube]. So hopefully iTitle will live for a little longer.
So what about other services like my other Twitter mashup uTitle and Andy Powell’s Summarizr, which rely on the TwapperKeeper service. There are obviously other Twitter archive services out there, TwapperKeeper even has the JISC funded open source version yourTwapperKeeper, but all the online services potentially face the same problem of being prevented from making archived tweets reusable. One solution might be to develop a distributed cloud based archive. For example, initially I thought of using Google Spreadsheet hack for capturing tweets, and then sharing these archives with the community as a searchable index. Anyone fancy building an interface for this?