Assuming you had a Twitter account a decade ago, and assuming you follow all the same people now as you did on this day in 2008, a new Twitter hack showing your 2008 timeline should offer a kinder, gentler feed with earnest open-ended questions and honest observations from once-anonymous figures in media, politics, or entertainment about their social lives. Twitter in the year 2008 is worth two minutes of your day.
“Want to see what your Twitter timeline would’ve looked like 10 years ago today, if you followed all the same people you do now?,” tweeted Andy Baio, a tech engineer and former CTO at Kickstarter, before sharing this link to 2008 Twitter on Thursday night.
(The link even works if you didn’t have Twitter in 2008. It just shows a feed of 2008 tweets from all the people you follow today.)
Up until February 2016, Twitter didn’t sort tweets by algorithm. The link above does have them sorted by Twitter’s own algorithm. To ignore that and get a chronological timeline, this link shows tweets in chronological order.
The time-capsule tweets are thanks to Twitter’s advanced search — which is a great tool for any journalist or researcher — and has been one of the best-kept secrets about the service. If you want to get searching for yourself, ignore the many Ultimate Guides To Twitter Advanced Search that exist, and seek out a list of search operators like these instead.
I’d be remiss for not sharing some gems from my 2008 feed.
Here’s current CNN media journalist Brian Stelter:
Here’s tech journalist Kara Swisher:
Here’s current Politico cybersecurity reporter Eric Geller:
Here’s current Recode reporter Peter Kafka:
Here’s Marketplace host Molly Wood:
So, ten-years-ago you was pretty good! My first tweet wasn’t until September 9, 2008, which I’m not at all ashamed to share below: