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Ain't That Tweet? Library of Congress to Archive Twitter Messages

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  • Ain't That Tweet? Library of Congress to Archive Twitter Messages

    1:44 p.m: Finished mowing grass.

    2:10 p.m.: Just got out of showr; going to fridge for beer

    2:15 p.m.: Driving to store; out of beer

    2:51 p.m.: Back home. Drinking a Bud and watching Judge Judy

    Tweeting on Twitter is a cultural phenomenon; it’s like keeping a private diary except it isn’t private. Users can share with the world every breathless moment of their day. Is this the stuff of history?

    The Library of Congress thinks so. It reached an agreementócall it a Tweetheart dealówith Twitter to archive Tweeters’ messages, currently about 55 million a day. While preserving communications such as those hypothetical ones shown above may seem trivial, it will make electronic ephemera less ephemeral and, just as letters and diaries give us insights into the daily life of generations past, Tweets may help future researchers understand today’s world. Won’t that mean pouring through a multitude of meaningless messages to find something of substance?

    Well, yes, but reading old letters, diaries or even newspapers from the 19th and early 20th centuries means sifting through a lot of news about aching bunions, gossip about people whose last names aren’t given, and inside jokes the meaning of which you aren’t privy to in order to find a few scraps of useful information. But even trivial messages, taken together, give clues to daily life in other places and times. Here’s a link to the story about the Library of Congress and Twitter. What do you thinkówhat will this e-archive offer to future researchers?

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