When Twitter put the ability for an on-going microblog into the hands of the public, it never had this in mind. And only guessing that when the Library of Congress was brought to life early in our country’s founding planners couldn't even imagine this was coming down the pike.
The Library of Congress announced on Friday that it would start a process to index and receive a constant stream of all public tweets on Twitter. That means everything you ever posted in 140 characters or less will be saved somewhere.
I can only imagine what scholars 100 years from now will think as they pore over the digital archive and try to figure us out.
Including these recent tweets from these people:
Jc76 wrote: "So glad I've got twitter facebook is f*cking me right off!"
Here’s what the Library said in a statement:
"Twitter is a new kind of collection for the Library of Congress but an important one to its mission. As society turns to social media as a primary method of communication and creative expression, social media is supplementing, and in some cases supplanting, letters, journals, serial publications, and other sources routinely collected by research libraries.
"Though the Library has been building and stabilizing the archive and has not yet offered researchers access, we have nevertheless received approximately 400 inquiries from researchers all over the world. Some broad topics of interest expressed by researchers run from patterns in the rise of citizen journalism and elected officials' communications to tracking vaccination rates and predicting stock market activity."
The Library makes sense where social media can lead to social and governmental change. We saw the role Twitter played during the Arab protests in 2011 and we know that Twitter plays a part in an ongoing event that affects many people, like Hurricane Sandy did in 2012.
I just will have to scratch my head at the social relevance from tweets like these:
Justin Timberlake wrote: "Wreck-It Ralph is incredible. Whole cast is so good!!! @SarahKSilverman is genius in it. Like... Way too good."
Justin Bieber wrote: "2 more days until back on tour. UTAH"
Jake Tapper wrote: "Personally would have preferred it if @SpeakerBoehner had gone old school with his insult, e.g., "You Yeasty Dog-Hearted Apple-John!"
Jim Stingl wrote: "@jasonbohn9 I really did try to tweet the photo right side up, but it wasn't cooperating. Think of it as extreme voting."
Jerry Seinfeld wrote: "Cannot take anymore movie posters with the annoyed person and the 'oblivious they're being annoying' person. #soannoying"
And that was the few I found in a quick search with just the letter "J." Better get to indexing 170 billion and counting there librarians.
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.