Find Time for Billions and Billions of Tweets – Archiving the Twitterverse!

Finding time to keep up with Twitter is daunting, but imagine archiving and cataloguing every public tweet made since the inception of Twitter!

Happily, that’s not your job … or my job, but it is a task that’s been taken on by the Library of Congress.  Here’s what the blog at Twitter.com had to say last Wednesday about the project:

Since Twitter began, billions of tweets have been created. Today, fifty-five million tweets a day are sent to Twitter and that number is climbing sharply. A tiny percentage of accounts are protected but most of these tweets are created with the intent that they will be publicly available. Over the years, tweets have become part of significant global events around the world—from historic elections to devastating disasters.

It is our pleasure to donate access to the entire archive of public Tweets to the Library of Congress for preservation and research. It’s very exciting that tweets are becoming part of history.

The Library of Congress won’t be posting it’s Twitter archive on line, but will be sharing information about particular themes, as studies are conducted and compiled.  What a rich resource this will be!

“I think Twitter will be one of the most informative resources available on modern day culture, including economic, social and political trends, as well as consumer behavior and social trends,” said Margot Gerritsen, a professor with Stanford University’s Department of Energy Resources Engineering and head of the Center of Excellence for Computational Approaches to Digital Stewardship, a partnership with the Library of Congress.

This marks yet another step in the incorporation of digital media into the stores of information available and catalogued for researchers.  It certainly has triggered plenty of debate, as some scoff at the idea of 140-character Tweets from the likes of you and me and Ashton Kutcher becoming part of the nation’s archives.  On the other hand:

“This is an entirely new addition to the historical record, the second-by-second history of ordinary people,” said Fred R. Shapiro, associate librarian and lecturer at the Yale Law School.

How do you feel about your tweets becoming part of the nation’s (and world’s) historical record?  How do you think it will change our view of history?  Will it affect your tweets in any way?  (Will you check your spelling more?)

Drop me a line … I’d love to hear!  😉

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