In all the great spy and heist movies and a number of gangster films, characters in the stories that may need to drop everything at a moments notice and disappear “in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat
around the corner” often have a “go bag
” typically filled with jewelry, bundles of cash, and a variety of passports and associated identification.
The Heat’s Around the Corner
Given the seismic shifts in the social media space these past weeks since Elon Musk took over at Twitter, it looks like some people will wish they had their proverbial Twitter go bags ready.
After reports of an ultimatum and mass exodus tonight at Twitter Headquarters and Musk posting some not so funny remarks, some people are preparing for Twitter’s addition to the IndieWeb wiki’s Site Deaths page.
But after sharecropping content for them for up to 16 years and creating networks of friends on the platform, how can your retain as much value from the dying site as possible? What would you put in your go bag and how can you do it quickly?
Obviously, doing a full data export would be a wise move, but recent reports are that it is taking three or more days for those to process and get sent out. (What if it doesn’t last that long?) Worse, it’s not always the sort of usable data you’d want to have when moving somewhere else. What can you do to save as much usable data as quickly as possible?
Below are some quick and dirty tools for stocking your go bag:
https://listfollowers.com/ will access the Twitter API to pull out your followers, followees, and mutuals (people you’re following who follow you back). You can save these as a .csv or .json files for use or import to other tools.
https://opml.glitch.me/ will query Twitter and provide you with the web pages and feeds of your friends so that you can follow them in a feed reader. It also provides you with an .opml file which many feed readers can import so that you can automatically follow all your friends by other methods.
https://fedifinder.glitch.me/ is a tool for tracking where your friends have decamped within the Fediverse. It will allow you to extract the Fediverse handles (where available) of your Twitter followings or list members and import them into Mastodon to follow them all at once. If this is your exit strategy, be sure to add your own Mastodon address to your Twitter profile or bio to help others find you as you all orderly file to the exit while the building burns down behind you.
https://pruvisto.org/debirdify/ is another tool for moving some of your Twitter data over to Mastodon or other parts of the Fediverse.
is an instance for helping to bridge the move from Twitter to an ActivityPub-based site (like Mastodon).
https://twitodon.com/ is yet another tool to help you find your Twitter friends on Mastodon.
One Last Heist
Of course if things continue to devolve, but you have some extra time for one last go, consider carefully your exit strategy and why and what you hope to get out of the experience.
Many have left to go to Mastodon. I’ve been collecting some rough notes under the tag “Twitter Migration” which may be helpful here. While Mastodon represents a step up in terms of choice, freedom and flexibility over Twitter, I know we can still do better for both user interface as well as a more humane social media experience.
My personal suggestion for a quick and dirty escape is to go IndieWeb and have and use your own domain name and website to become your personal home on the web. If you’ve got the technical chops, our friends at IndieWebCamp have some help and pointers waiting for you. If you’re stuck and have some means, Micro.blog is a great way to go IndieWeb and own all your content while still being able to interact with a large number of other IndieWeb sites as well as Twitter and Mastodon if you choose. Plans there are $5 a month and are an exceptional deal.
Other options are to move to other blogging platforms like Tumblr, which has shown interest in adding IndieWeb building blocks, WordPress.com, and Blogger.
What export options have I missed? (Keep in mind that we all know there are lots of command line options that dovetail with APIs and require advanced knowledge of programming. We’re specifically looking for quick and dirty options that are immediately usable by the masses, preferably with directions or suggests as to what can be done with the outputs.)
What other options are there for easy migration that still allow people to stay connected with their friends and family? Hopefully it’s obvious that suggestions for moving to other corporate social silos that practice surveillance capitalism where this viscous cycle will happen again within a decade are now moot.