How to create a PDF archive of hashtagged tweets

[EDIT: September 2012 – if you’re interested in healthcare conversation archives, skip this post and head straight to Symplur’s Healthcare Hashtag Project — a STweM favourite, and highly recommended!]

It was great to reconnect with the Francisco Grajales this week. Cisco, who you probably know as CiscoGiii is currently taking a sabbatical from Twitter to move forward a fantastic project he is working with Peter Murray on.

Make sure you’re following him to hear all about it on his return.

Cisco was asking about hashtagging tweet archives, and further to our conversation sensibly suggested that I share the following how-to with you via this blog.

Why bother to archive conference tweets?

Well, for a start many of the learnings shared and the backchannel discussions stimulated by conferences are some of the best you’ll find on the web. People turn up at conferences fully caffeinated and rarin’ for sharin’, especially on the first day, and are often generous enough to punctuate the speaker’s presentation with twitpics of slides, supporting links, and illustrative examples. You may not have the opportunity to follow the event in real time, but reviewing tweet archives is an efficient way of getting up to speed with what the vanguard of your discipline is thinking and doing.

Personally, I like to bundle up a tweet archive as a gift to the kind souls who take the time to live tweet or stream sessions at conferences allowing all those outside the room an insight into what is happening within it. Feel free to bookmark this link to a folder containing all the health 2.0 events I have created tweet archives for in 2010, and look out for future updates.

Here’s what I do. It may not be the most succinct workflow, but it is robust, and having undertaken the preliminary steps if necessary (1-3 below) takes about 3 minutes to complete:

1) Ascertain (or if you are creating the event, establish) the hashtag that will be used at the event.
2) Enter the hashtag at whatthehashtag?! N.B. you will have had to have tweeted with the tag at least once for this to work: there needs to be something to find 🙂
3) whatthehashtag?! will prompt you to create a page; populate the page with details about your event. In so doing, it will also create a URL for your event (eg hcsmeu‘s is

4) Let the data build. Note the ability to tweet from this page, view a transcript (we’ll be coming back to this), and acquire an RSS feed.
5) When you’re ready to grab the event hashtags, return to your whatthehashtag?! page and click the ‘view transcript’ tab. Enter a start and end date, then hit ‘generate’.
6) Either (Mac) File>Print>PDF>Save as PDF or (PC) print to PDF.
7) Upload to your Google Docs account or Scribd, Slideshare, or however you want to propagate it. The rest of these steps assume Google Docs used as medium of redistribution.
8) Within Google Docs, choose ‘allow user to edit without signing in’ . The PDF will be locked anyway, but it’s always best to choose the maximum sharing option.
9) Within Google Docs, select ‘get the link to share’, and copy the URL on to your clipboard (‘save and close’).
10) Drop the link into or whatever trackable link truncator service you use. Be sure to use the same truncated URL everywhere you publish in order to get accurate metrics regarding usage via your truncator account homepage.
11) The most important bit: tweet the fact that you’ve created the archive using the conference hashtag, include the truncated URL link you are using, and consider sharing with the other conversations in your field of interest on Twitter. I tend to cc. #hcsmeu, #hcsm, #socpharm, and #rnchat as appropriate, among others.

You’re done.

If you use a different method, I’d be interested to hear about it.


6 thoughts on “How to create a PDF archive of hashtagged tweets

  1. Shortly after the chat/event (within 3-4hrs) the site search is doing that fine, if you only want to archieve the tweets. Then print to pdf and so on (see above)

    • Hi Michaela

      Lovely to see you here 🙂 Thanks for the comment.

      Yes, that’s a great ‘on the fly’ solution for sharing comments in the short term. However, it doesn’t provide a ‘fixed point’ for archiving purposes, and until we can do deep searches for content published on Twitter, we need an archive solution.

    • Hi Eileen

      Thanks for stopping by, hope you’re well 🙂

      Quick and simple! A great solution for content you want to upload to a site.

      I’ve used PYT too: the first 10 or so #hcsmeu archives are PYT exports; the layout of WTH just has the edge for me. Plus, regardless of the means that I use to compile the archive itself, I still need a ‘cloud’ solution to store and facilitate access to it.

  2. Pingback: MedLibs Round 2.6 « Laika's MedLibLog

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