The Library of Congress acquires the entire Twitter archive

Anything you say or do online can come back to haunt you. Almost everyone knows that, and I wish I knew it in my early online days: not because I did anything particularly dumb, but for the username identity. I’ve used sushimustwrite since 2002 and possibly earlier, but it wasn’t my first alias. I just wish I had come up with it sooner.

You can find a lot of old websites in the Wayback Machine, but today the Library of Congress announced that it would acquire the entire public Twitter archive. Every single public tweet since 2006 will now be archived in the Library of Congress. There are some interesting tweets: the proposals, the updates that chronicled events, the updates that spurred action. Most of the updates aren’t all that interesting and would make no sense outside of context–say, in a conversation with another user. A lot of updates are also spam or consist of “zomgwillufollowme”. All of these updates will be kept, but from the way it sounds, one can search the archive, something Twitter search has struggled with.

Think before you tweet. This should be common sense. No one cares about what you ate for breakfast unless it was particularly exciting. (Hint: cereal and yogurt, though my preferred breakfast, is not exciting unless I’m eating with a celebrity.) Will this action make people more careful before they update, or will they continue to update in their haphazard ways?

All I know is that when I go to the Library of Congress one day, I’ll definitely be checking this out if possible.

2 replies on “The Library of Congress acquires the entire Twitter archive”

I for one will continue to update in my haphazard ways. My deluge of muffin-related tweets will not end just because they’re being archived somewhere besides Twitter. People need to know I am boring and will freely tell you exactly what I am having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I consider this a public service to anyone considering striking up a conversation with me offline.

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