It may be "several months" before some users can download their Twitter archive
Twitter is offering its more than 200 million users a chance to keep a digital scrapbook of all their tweets.
The tool, announced this week, is designed to make it easier for people to review all their activity on Twitter's trend-setting messaging service.
When it's available, the downloading option will appear at the bottom of each user's settings menu.
Twitter, which is based in San Francisco, said it may take a several weeks, or even months, before everyone gets the feature.
After a records request is made, users will receive an email on how to download their personal archive. For Twitter's earliest users, the records date back to 2006 when Twitter started.
Twitter users already have been able to peruse their past tweets by navigating to their personal profile page. But going that route is more cumbersome because it requires scrolling down a page that can sometimes be slow to display additional tweets.
The company said that users who download their entire histories should find it easier to search for particular tweets and organize the messages - by month, for example.
The new tool also should serve as a reminder that a copy of everything people have tweeted still resides on Twitter's computers.
Other widely used services, such as Facebook's popular social network, also have been creating digital portraits of people's lives as more content gets posted on their sites. Facebook gives its more than 1 billon users the option to download everything they have shared on the service. It has become easier this year for Facebook users to look at their past musings and photos as the service converted people's profiles into a timeline that sorts content by the month it was shared.
Path, another social network founded by former Facebook executive Dave Morin, is also trying to position itself as a treasure chest of memories. A new feature released Thursday in an update to Path's' mobile app allows users to search their past posts on devices running on Apple and Android software. The content can be quickly retrieved by typing in their names' friends, a specific event or time of year, or just a phrase encapsulating a vacation highlight, such as "hiking in Kauai."