Twitter recently announced that it has archived the billions of tweets sent through the social network since its inception in 2006. Initially you were probably super-excited about the seemingly endless possibilities of having every tweet ever sent at your fingertips. Just think of all that data!
But then you realize, "Oh wait. Now people can easily find every tweet I ever sent." Hopefully, you never tweeted out anything really offensive, because that could come back to bite you. But most of us have tweets we would rather not have people remember because they're just plain embarrassing. This probably happened in our early days of using Twitter when everything was still new and we were still trying to figure out exactly what makes a good, or at least an appropriate, tweet for the medium.
Flash-forward a few years, and you have probably forgotten what you tweeted at that time. But suddenly, upon hearing Twitter's announcement, all of those memories came rushing back. You need to get rid of those tweets, and you need to get rid of them fast.
But stay calm. It's going to be OK. You still have time to delete those tweets you'd rather no one knew about, and here are some of the ways you can do that.
1. Manually delete tweets
In case you don't feel like venturing out of Twitter to get rids of tweets, you can delete tweets manually, albeit tediously. There's a few ways to do this. You can just go through your Twitter feed and delete tweets as you see fit. You can also request your archive in your Twitter settings, and then Twitter will send you a .zip file containing all of your tweets in an easy-to-search database that looks much like Twitter's interface. You can search for words you think will be objectionable and delete all the tweets you deem inappropriate. It could take a few days to receive this from Twitter, so if you don't feel like waiting, you can always use the new-and-improved Advanced Search to parse through your tweets.
2. Get rid of your account entirely
This is an extreme measure, but if your Twitter account is too fargone to be salvaged, this might be your only option. If you deactivate your Twitter account, the data stays in Twitter's archives for 30 days before being deleted forever. Before the account gets deleted, you can change the username and email address associated with it so you can retain the username you worked so hard to obtain. However, the catch is that you will lose all of the data associated with the account, including all of your followers, even if the handle lives on. This is only for those people who truly want a fresh start.
3. Just delete your first tweet
Through Twitter's handy dandy #FirstTweet search engine, you can find the inaugural tweet for any account, including your own. Since the very first tweet for many people is like a test run, it may be worth it to just get rid of this one altogether.
4. Delete groups of tweets
If none of these options are for you, there are a bunch of third-party services that also allow you to delete tweets that are less extreme than some of these other options. TweetDelete allows you to automatically erase up to 3,000 tweets at once that are older than a specified time period. TweetDeleter works similarly, enabling you to search, browse and automatically delete up to 3,500 tweets at a time. TweetEraser is another tool that lets you do mass deletions from your Twitter profile. But keep in mind that all of these services require authorization and, if granted, will be able to access all of your Twitter data.