17 April 2010

Your Tweets are History!

How Tweet it is - for eternity!

If you have ever sent a Tweet, your descendants will now have an even better picture of what you were like, your life, your interests.

For genealogists, this may be quite helpful to future generations who really want to know what their grandparent had for lunch.

Others do not feel quite the same.

Read on for the upside, and the down, of this recent development.

The Library of Congress, according to Matt Raymond's blog post, has acquired the entire Twitter archive. Every 140-character-or-less tweet that you have ever sent since Twitter launched in March 2006 - in anger, in humor, in simple status updates - will now be available at the LOC.

How many are there? Twitter gets more than 50 million - Twitter says some 55 million - tweets a day, totalling billions of the darned little things.

It was announced to the Twitter community via the LOC's own feed (@librarycongress); the LOC's feed has more than 50,000 followers:

Twitter posted the information on its own blog.
Library to acquire ENTIRE Twitter archive -- ALL public tweets, ever, since March 2006! Details to follow. (11:36 AM Apr 14th via web Retweeted by 100+ people)
That blog post also mentioned Google Replay.
"... 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. It should be noted that there are some specifics regarding this arrangement. Only after a six-month delay can the Tweets will be used for internal library use, for non-commercial research, public display by the library itself, and preservation. ..."
"... Today we are also excited to share the news that Google has created a wonderful new way to revisit tweets related to historic events. They call it Google Replay because it lets you relive a real time search from specific moments in time. ..."
Read about Google Replay here. Although it currently only goes back a few months, it will include the very first Tweets ever created.

Raymond indicated that soon there will be a LOC press release with even more details, focusing on scholarly and research implications.

Other facts gleaned from these announcements: the LOC holds 167 terabytes of web-bsed information. That includes legal blos, national office candidates websites and Congressional members' websites.

For positive and negative reactions to this development, see the LOC post comments at the link above. Remarks included: Awesome, who owns the copyright (Twitter or the re-Tweeter)?, what right does the government have to a private individual's Tweets, is the 167 terabytes backed up?, tax dollars at work, waste of time and money, banal and narcissistic, no warning?, awful, access policies?, incredibly valuable resource, be careful what you Tweet online, what happens if a public Twitter account goes private?, can't put the genie back in the bottle, who owns non-US-generated Tweets? and more.

As should always be the case, be careful as to what private information you post on any social media networking site, such as Facebook, Twitter or others.

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