Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Library of Congress Will Archive Your Tweets

The U.S. Library of Congress is one of the all-time great Wonders of the World, but this announcement makes me wonder what they're thinking. Is it really a good idea to collect and archive every single tweet that has ever been sent since Twitter began?

According to today's announcement:

Have you ever sent out a “tweet” on the popular Twitter social media service? Congratulations: Your 140 characters or less will now be housed in the Library of Congress.

That’s right. Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.

The Library has a big initiative to handle digital preservation, and that's surely a good thing, but I kind of figured they would preserve selectively, as in, the body of human knowledge, our nation's cultural heritage, and stuff like that. What's the purpose of preserving every tweet ever sent? Other than to document how inane and self-obsessed people can be?

Historical tweets are already being preserved elsewhere, I'm happy to see.

I've found Twitter to be handy for breaking news events, and I follow a few Twitter accounts from politicians and think tanks, but when I've browsed accounts at random just to see what people were tweeting, I've usually come away shuddering. Even the tweets from this much-hyped Big Brain pretty quickly turn into self parody.

Please forgive the following rant, but, since I'm speaking of that guy, how many times can he say "awesome!" and "super!" and why does he end so many tweets with exclamation points or emoticons?

I just looked at his account and found this stunner:

April is the crulest month, not just for T.S. Elliot, but also for #Rwanda. Plz join in remembering 800,000 people who lost their lives

Now, that strikes me as just tacky. If you are going to use an epigraph from T.S. Eliot in a post about remembering the Rwandan genocide, have the sensitivity to make it an appropriate one. "After such knowledge, what forgiveness?" from Gerontion would suit the topic. But quoting the first line of The Waste Land just because it mentions the month of April is superficial and lame. And spelling counts - crulest?

Rant over. Something about that guy's precocious schoolboy persona gives me an irresistible urge to give him a wedgie and snap a towel at him.

So glad to get that off my chest! Awesome! Super! :)


TSB said...

Message to Kolbi: I received your comments today, but it looks like I accidently hit the wrong button and they haven't published. Very sorry! I read them both and appreciate your having sent them.

A Daring Adventure said...

No prob - I was actually going to leave you another comment about how:

1.) Totally fitting it is that you told us on Tax Day to hug an IRS agent (I missed that initially because I don't pay attention to things very well sometimes),


2.) That Digger is seriously all dissin' y'all's vaycay crib:

(And, hate to say it, but the Daily Show clip she put up in the post before it is actually... quite... hilarious......)