Apparently, the Library of Congress has decided that they wanted to keep the twitter archives and log any twitter record that was public; At least this is according to the USA Today. Now usually I’m not the first to get up and grouch about Twitter having been exploited by government agencies for whatever reason. With Facebook having some much yummy information I can’t really blame intelligence agencies for at least wanting to look through their, but there are 2 key factors to this. First this is the Library of Congress, not the CIA, and Second, what in god’s name do they hope to gleam from 140 characters? It’s usually easy to tell why an online organization gets picked on by government entities, but honestly, it had to have been the twitter team coming forward and saying “Hey you want our stuff?”. Beyond that my simple brain can’t fathom why in the world the Library of Congress would want a record of tweets. I mean I know they collect some pretty useless things to put back on storage, but tweets?
I guess the real thing here too is what’s this going next to, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that it will be going into their digital archives, but it just is kind of amusing to see. It’s like watching grandpa slowly climb out of the chair and look for whatever new piece of technology he recently found and try to fiddle with it for 10 minutes only to be defeated and go back to sleep. Also on that same line of thought of knocking Grandpa out often he find the new techno-critter, it would seem that twitter, in its happiness to show some love to the Library of Congress and posting just who or what was buying all these tweets may have inadvertently DDoS’d the server. Well I guess for it to be a technical DDoS a connection would never be made between client and host, so that’s a bit extreme of a word, rather what was happening here is that the Library of congress website is not the type of site that sees a great deal of traffic on a regular basis, and given that even twitter’s servers usually can’t handle the load of twitter, I imagine that whoever is doing server administration for the Library of Congress is having a very bad day-to-day. In fact, I wonder if their bandwidth bill for today will show up in news of the weird column somewhere. Like “News of the Weird: Library of Congress forced to lay off workers to make up for recent massive bandwidth usage bill”. That said, there are some issues here of privacy that I guess I have been joking around about.
Now as google has said, if you are willing to put anything on the web, you better be prepared for it to be out there for the rest of eternity, and in this case it may even find its way to a physical media. But that does prompt the question of do we really want every tweet being saved to some database, I mean we are talking about 140 characters of “Dude, going to the bathroom”. And usually I would say this is not the kind of thing that the Library of congress cares about, except that they have made it incredibly clear that they want every single tweet on the planet that happens to be public. So yes, the Library of congress wants to record that you went to the bathroom on such and such a date, or were made at so and so for whatever amount of time. It’s a cultural reflection of what is going on in this day and age I suppose BUT I’m still torn as to if that is the most accurate reflection of the 2010 culture, and if perhaps there weren’t better sources to archive. I guess even more so then that, you can now feel special that you are going to have content somewhere in the Library of Congress! You’re now famous by association, so congratulations.
Also, according to Moot (@4chan), He was saddened to see that twitter was acquired but not 4chan, and really, let’s be honest here, in terms of cultural reflection, I honestly think that 4chan’s probably a better source of figuring out the global society, plus we all know that the 4chan archives suck terribly, and that 4chan barely has enough server space to maintain the 15 live pages, so there’d be no way that they can maintain much more. So in terms of great things for the Library of Congress to invest in, the 4chan archive would probably be just as valuable if not more to them in terms of some kind of archeological standpoint. So good luck to you moot, maybe if you get on another really big magazine and then plead with the Library of congress they’ll see your point of view