How I cleaned up my embarrassing Twitter history

This may be hard to imagine, but I, a now hilarious 24-year-old with impressive self-control and impeccable taste in movies, music, and celebrity crushes, have not always crafted the best tweets.

Sure, my Twitter fingers are professionally trained at this point. But when I first made my debut in 2011, I was an angsty 18-year-old, obsessed with One Tree Hill, listening to Dashboard Confessional on a loop, and tragically venting about freshman year of college.

I’ve grown a lot since then. And the sophisticated professional I am today decided it was time to venture back into my Twitter history and clean up my online image.

On this utterly mortifying experience down memory lane, I managed to successfully locate and delete a few embarrassing rants, some ice-cold takes, and several horribly nerdy hashtags I now regret. For all my future Twitter stalkers will know, I’ve always been this cool!

Revisiting the past — and trying to mass delete tweets — revealed some harsh truths about my social media usage: In my younger years I tweeted too often and way too freely. I utilized very little self-control when deciding which parts of my life to share. Post-cleanup, I feel much better about my online presence. If you’re in any doubt about your online past, I highly suggest you search your own Twitter archive and do the same.

Here’s how:

Say hello to advanced search

There’s one friend you can count on during this dreaded path to online self-improvement: Twitter’s very own advanced search tool which you can access on desktop, Android or iPhone.

The feature gives people a simple way to search their own tweets and filter by keywords, phrases, usernames, locations, and dates. To search your Twitter archive, simply type your handle in the “From these accounts” section. (You can also search “from:” in Twitter’s basic search box followed by a handle to get the same results.)

Identify and delete by keyword

To kick off your Twitter cleanse, why not start by searching your account for problematic keywords? You might find tweets with words like “guilty pleasure,” “hate,” and “drunk” worth manually deleting, but everyone’s account is different, so search for the words that pertain to you.

I’m sure my mom would be pleased to know I have zero incriminating tweets about being drunk. (I regret to inform her that over the years I’ve tweeted my fair share of other embarrassing content.)


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