Library of Congress Collecting All Tweets

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Theresa Payton


Twitter was launched in 2006.  Did you miss the launch?  Don't worry about it, you did not miss a thing!

Every tweet since March 2006 will be digitally archived at the Library of Congress. There are more than 55 million tweets each day.

What has been captured so far?

According to Matt Raymond's article, tweets such as Barack Obama's 2008 election, or the photojournalist arrested in Egypt who tweeted his way to his eventual release, are there.

Your tweets too.  So even though you do not have an archive of your tweets, that's okay because your government does.

Matt Raymond says:

So if you think the Library of Congress is “just books,” think of this: The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000. 

Today we hold more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office, and websites of Members of Congress.

The Library of Congress plans to only give access to "qualified researchers". In addition, Twitter is also giving a copy of the same archive to Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

What is your opinion?  Awesome technology?  Bad idea?

From the NY Times article:

Alexander Macgillivray, Twitter’s general counsel, said, “From the beginning, Twitter has been a public and open service.”

Twitter’s privacy policy states: “Our services are primarily designed to help you share information with the world. Most of the information you provide to us is information you are asking us to make public.”


"How Tweet It Is!  Library Acquires Entire Twitter Archive", Matt Raymond, Library of Congress, April 14, 2010.

"When History is Compiled 140 Characters at a Time", Randall Stross, New York Times - Business Day, May 1, 2010.

"What Will the Library of Congress Do With All Those Tweets?", UOPX Writer Network, University of Phoenix, October 26, 2010.

Cross-posted from Fortalice

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