Twitter is promising to make a new feature available that will allow users to download their entire tweeting history.
Mashable reports that their CEO, Dick Costolo, has given further reassurances (they've mentioned the ability to do this in the past) that the facility is to be launched - and this time he's said it'll be before the end of 2012.
The potential value of this feature to individuals is obvious enough in terms of self protection and personal value of your writing, but to organisations it would come as a major boost in policy control, enforcement and auditing tools.
Costolo is quoted as saying "By the end of the year you’ll be able to download the archive history of your entire tweets; you know, your entire tweet archive."
Twitter's motivation for providing this feature isn't actually user orientated - it's to help them reduce the overhead on their database servers when people perform searches.
There are no firm dates or further details at this stage but the comments will be welcomed by many who use social media as a marketing, customer service or general communication tool in a commercial environment.
As social media policies and control issues begin to provide more and more companies with internal headaches, the ability to download an entire archive of tweets will give the power to conduct much more capable investigation.
It'll also make such processes much quicker, with no reliance on the Twitter website beyond the download process and no need for Twitter API based software clients.
If you give a HR department the ability to search through an entire archive of Tweets in, say, Microsoft Excel, you've got a much more powerful method of control where words are so easily searchable.
It'll also give an interesting option for pattern research if the time and date of tweets are downloadable - and we've no reason to think that won't happen.