Microsoft: The Archivist, Twitter Analyzer Tool


The Archivist: Save and Analyze Tweets


Client: Microssoft
Role: Principal CX Designer
Details: As FTE UX/Technical Evangelist, I was responsible for:

  • User Research
  • User-Personas & Customer Journeys
  • Information Architecture
  • Creating wireframes & demos using WPF and HTML5
  • Hand-in-hand work with Development

Result: Relased in 2009, retired 2011. The MIX Online team was re-organized and Microsoft could not justify the cost to maintain the database of 5,000,000 tweets overe 350+ keywords.

In 2009, Twitter was becoming an instrumental force in the way we communicate and create social change. At the time, however, there were no solid methods for saving and analyzing the vast amount of data that was being aggregated by the service. Seeing the need for this kind of service, as team members in the MIX Online group at Microsoft, I and Karsten Januszewski designed and developed The Archivist.

The Archivist Desktop

The Archivist - Desktop

The Archivist began as a WPF application used to aggregate posts around a certain hashtag and provide limited analysis around that hashtag.

Following the release of The Archivist Desktop, we were able to leverage the project and add new functionality which enabled Microsoft’s MIX Online team to use it in conjunction with two other projects: Flotzam, a Twitter visualization application, and the MIX, PDC09, and Channel 9 conference video players. The Archivist Desktop application was used to filter, monitor, and curate selected Tweets that were being sent during Microsoft conferences, providing an interactive augmentation to the audience and the live videos surfacing relevant content.



The Archivist Web

After its release and great reviews, we realized that because it was a Windows-only product which required install, we were keeping out a significant number of potential users, as well as a lack of more robust analysis functionality. This led us to create a second version that was web-based and available through any browser.


The Archivist - Web

The service unfortunately had to be taken down in 2011 when The Archivist reached 5,000,000,000 archived tweets, Twitter’s Terms of Service changed, and the service could no longer be sustained.

Features that The Archivist included were:

  • Search Twitter and find specific tweets around your search terms
  • Save up-to three searches up to 50,000 individual tweets
  • Make archives public or private
  • Datavisualizations showing
    • Number of Tweets over time
    • Top users using the specific search term
    • Original tweets vs. re-tweets
    • Most-used words in the archived tweets
    • Most-referred-to URLs in the archived tweets
    • The source of the tweets (Web, HootSuite, TweetDeck, etc …)
    • A view of the most-recent tweets around that search term
    • Export to Excel
    • Export to .zip (txt file)

The Archivist Web Press and Reviews

We received some good press and reviewers took time to walk through the features:

How To Download Your Tweets With The Online Archivist

The Archivist Tracks Twitter

Archivist – Awesome Twitter Search Archive Tool

Microsoft Unleashes The Archivist