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Library of Congress To Archive All Public Tweets

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the he-ain't-heavy-he's-less-than-140-chars dept.

Government 171

After the recent announcement that Groklaw will be archived at the Library of Congress, mjn writes with word that the push to archive more digital content continues: "The US Library of Congress announced a deal with Twitter to archive all public tweets, dating back to Twitter's inception in March 2006. More details at their blog. No word yet on precisely what will be done with the collection, but besides entering your friends' important updates on the quality of breakfast into the permanent archival record, the deal may improve access for researchers wanting to analyze and mine Twitter's giant database."

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Your tax dollars at work... (4, Insightful)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848468)

Given the signal to noise ratio for most tweets, I'm not convinced this is a particularly good use of resources...

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you have to!

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848502)

It's not like it takes a lot of space to archive them, it's just 140 characters per tweet. There's a lot of useless information in the newspapers and books too, but they have archived them too because some of that info is valuable or might become valuable.

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848738)

Hi, @librarycongress! I just took a shit. I am honored that you will be archiving this momentous occasion for future generations.

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849016)

TWOOP!

http://twitter.com/twoop [twitter.com]

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849222)

Hi, @librarycongress! I just took a shit. I am honored that you will be archiving this momentous occasion for future generations.

Obligatory [penny-arcade.com] .

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849310)

lol luv that comment

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (2, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849404)

50 million tweets/day
140 characters of message
60 bytes of metadata (timestamp, sender id, etc.)

10 GB of twitter archive per day
10 TB per 3 years

What does 1 TB cost these days? about $100?

Storage space will indeed be an inexpensive part of the cost, and will decline in price at about the same rate the traffic is growing.

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848522)

And just because you don't have to, doesn't mean you shouldn't!

This is probably the best way to capture a snapshot of our current society. Sure, the barrier for entry is a little lower, but I think this will be invaluable for historians who look back and try to understand us.

Or, if anything, it'll confuse the hell out of them .

Everyone wins either way!

captcha: formally

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849192)

I'm reminded of the Futurama episode where they go to a museum of the 20th century and everything there is ridiculously inaccurate because of how information tends to get lost and garbled over time. I can just imagine what a museum of the 21st century will look like if their primary source is old tweets. They'll probably think our self-imposed 140 character limit was due to some bizarre superstition and we worshiped someone known only as "aplusk" as a God whose wisdom came down to us in the form of what will appear to them (and to many of us) as complete gibberish.

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (1)

uncqual (836337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849302)

Or, it might cause historians to think there was a Little Dark Age in the early part of the 21st century.

Now, if the LOC would archive /., the historians would know there was a Little Dark Age in the early part of the 21st century (and this post would be evidence that the denizens of the Little Dark Age even knew they were living in such a time).

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849318)

You have to remember that the people usually shouting "wargarbal waste of money" to scientific situations such as these aren't the type to give two shits as to generations that come after them, as we've all seen. :(

Future historians? These people are trying to burn history books today.

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849394)

And just because you don't have to, doesn't mean you shouldn't!

Actually, when you're spending tax dollars, that's a pretty damned good rule of thumb you encourage breaking. But hey, tax money is free, right?

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848698)

It might not be, but it clears up who holds the copyrights to all of the messages posted on Twitter. It's certainly not the users.

If you had any good ideas that you ever mentioned in a tweet, well, you don't own those idea any more.

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848980)

Since you can't copyright an idea, you probably didn't own it in the first place.

For the limited subset of ideas that are inventions, and the even more limited subset of those which are patentable -- well, if you patented it (or proceed to patent soon enough/meeting correct conditions after tweeting), you still own it, and if not, public disclosure, which prevents someone else from patenting and owning it, is now on record in the LoC.

(Yeah, the above contains some simplifications of actual patent law -- still a lot better than the all IP=copyright rubbish.)

Certainly could be the users (2, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849036)

A library archiving your work does not necessarily imply that you don't own the copyright on it.

Re:Certainly could be the users (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849426)

And I would bet the Library of Congress doesn't have to give a damn about copyright anyway.

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (2, Insightful)

mlush (620447) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848968)

Given the signal to noise ratio for most tweets, I'm not convinced this is a particularly good use of resources...

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you have to!

Its a fantastic idea, its probably only a few Tb of data but it represents the unedited reaction of ordinary people to historical events and a detailed insight into their everyday lives.

For the future (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849012)

We learned more about ancient Egypt from their twitter then from all the official records designed to be survive the ages. Sure sure, very interesting to read the "unbiased" record of a pharaoh in his own tomb, but it is from the "trash" notes that were recovered that we learned about how the country itself worked. Including such little details as that the pyramids were not made by slaves.

The official records of the US will be Fox news. Better pray that future researchers have access to some other source, or they will come back in time and nukes us all, causality be damned.

Re:Your tax dollars at work... (1)

Moralpanic (557841) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849266)

Just because you don't see a useful or 'good use' of it, doesn't mean that others won't. If you're just randomly looking at tweets, you're going to have a hard time finding anything useful. But if you do a targeted search or data mine, then you can come up with useful stuff. Say for instance, all the tweets somebody has made since the time they went online. You can get a pretty good idea of that individual's development. Or the tweets on a day like 9/11. And like others have mentioned, it's not like resources are scarce to archive them. 140 characters could hold literally trillions upon trillions of tweets on a single hard disk.

Why? (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848478)

Seriously, why?

Re:Why? (1, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848684)

Seriously, why not? Mayhaps this will be a treasure trove for some unsuspecting social scientist in the 23rd Century. Really, the study of what boring, routine stuff people do day in and day out is important and can yield valuable insights into the past.

Of course, that assumes that budding social scientists in the 23rd century can read [imdb.com] .

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848966)

I would that a social scientist in the 23rd Century does that think that average human of today posts every triviality in his life like most of the current twitters.

Re:Why? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848690)

So eons later, whoever inherited this planet discovers this relic "Library of Congress". Seeking the ancient wisdom, they finally manage to decipher them after much struggle, and goes:
WTF?

Re:Why? (0, Offtopic)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848828)

So eons later, whoever inherited this planet discovers this relic "Library of Congress". Seeking the ancient wisdom, they finally manage to decipher them after much struggle, and goes:

WTF?

But maybe the world has always been WTF? All we know are romanticized stories.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849422)

The world has always been WTF.

More likely they will say: "No wonder they're gone."

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849096)

Soon after, he publishes a paper with his revolutionary new theory: People in the 21st century were so forgetful that they decided to record all details about their daily life in a central database so they could recover it if necessary.

Re:Why? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849234)

Does the phrase 'history is written by the victors' mean anything to you?

hmm... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848484)

I could see them archiving tweets that were relevant to pop culture or history...but all of them??? Seems like a waste of time and money to me.

Re:hmm... (3, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848518)

I'm thinking the byte limit on tweets is the main factor here...easier to just scoop 'em all up than to figure how to get the "important" ones.

Re:hmm... (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848652)

I suspect a lot of the interesting information is in the aggregate anyway, not individual tweets: things like trends, analysis of subgroups, linguistic analysis, etc.

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848920)

Absolutely. I'm inclined to say there *are* no 'important ones', but the totality is very interesting as corpus.

Re:hmm... (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849142)

I think that the importance of a single tweet varies depending on who is sending it and who is reading it. If I tweet/twitpic about some activity my children are doing, you might think a giant yawn is being generous. Meanwhile, however, a family member or friend reading it might be genuinely interested in that information. To give another example, if @grantimahara tweets about an upcoming episode of Mythbusters, you are a fan of that show, you'd likely find it very interesting. However, someone else who has no interest in the show would find it boring.

All that being said, of course, I don't think the amount of people who find "I'm in the potty" tweets interesting is very large. (Not that I've ever seen one of these, mind you.)

Re:hmm... (3, Insightful)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848540)

all of them???

Disk space is cheap...

They should get a copy of the internet archive while they're at it.

Re:hmm... (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848584)

They should get a copy of the internet archive while they're at it.

And alt.binaries too. Think of the "research" potential there... ;)

Re:hmm... (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849546)

alt.binaries too

Good idea. Maybe linux-kernel too. Is there a better example of large scale teamwork? For coding, I mean. Not for documenting the downfall of the US legal system.

Re:hmm... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849382)

Disk space is cheap...

Since it's "twitter", surely that should be "cheep"?

Uh, sorry. :-(

Anyway, if Twitter messages are 140 bytes and we assume the overhead averages 30% per message, that's 187 bytes per message.

5.5 tweets per metric kilobyte.
5475 tweets per megabyte.
5,475,935 tweets per gigabyte.
5,475,935,828 tweets per terabyte.

Which isn't far short of the earth's population. Figure out the average number of tweets per person on earth, and you know how many $60 1TB hard drives you need to store them all.

The question is the average- do the self-absorbed, narcissistic, twitter-spewing 14-year olds push that up to the point where the large number of people who don't want to or can't use Twitter don't matter?

Re:hmm... (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848544)

In the history only popular news or writings were archived. Wouldn't it be interesting to see what someone else, normal people, said about Shakespeare or some kings 1000 years from now? All we have now is what was archived - popular writings that governments agreed to.

Re:hmm... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848570)

Wouldn't it be interesting to see what someone else, normal people, said about Shakespeare or some kings 1000 years from now?

They were probably too busy watching Medieval Idol to even realize who Shakespeare or the King was ;)

All we have now is what was archived - popular writings that governments agreed to.

Which is all we'll have in the future, unless you think the United States Government is liable to be around in a thousand years.

Re:hmm... (4, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848848)

They were probably too busy watching Medieval Idol to even realize who Shakespeare or the King was ;)

A jest, I know, but it does demonstrate a serious point.

Our history books are based on records maintained by the winners of wars, the leaders, the successful, etc. We know a lot about Shakespeare. We know relatively little about how his audiences actually felt about his work.

We largely speculate as to how life was for the ordinary folk during historical periods based on writings about them, not writings from them. The exception to this is diaries, and now many people maintain those any more. Twitter can help replace some of that perspective.

Admittedly, Twitter is not an ideal way to get a picture of a society, but you get to hear historical events told from a very different perspective. Actually, you get to hear them from LOTS of perspectives. They may not be an accurate portrayal of the events, but they are a snapshot of how a society reacts to and perceives events.

Who will represent the narcissists in society for future generations?

Re:hmm... (1)

kencurry (471519) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849338)

but most people tweet about mundane crap, not what happened on Capitol Hill. i.e., signal to noise will be horrible for trying to decipher What the Hell Happened...

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849352)

My history professor always talks about how we have all these records about the rich and noble people in history. We even know how many enemas King Louis XIV had! But we don't know what the lives of the common people in France were like at the time.

For example, we have court records from the Spanish Inquisition, and we know that most people were sent back into society (not executed), but we don't know what life was like for them after that. Were they accepted back into their village? Were they shunned?

Re:hmm... (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849354)

That in fact is an ideal reason to do this, and twitter is nearly the ideal forum. The only hole in it is that some people aren't represented. Those who are over- or under-represented can be identified and the weight of their observations adjusted. But those who simply are not recorded will not have had an opinion at all.

The real problem here is, the LoC is a government entity, and all my experiences with technology provided by government entities has left me less than impressed. Searching the LoC's archive may get you a deeper set of results than searching Twitter (which cuts off results at an unpredictable time in the past), but I'm going to bet that the tool will be slow and have missing or cryptic features and will return the results in a format that's hard to work with. Certainly I don't expect them to provide inferential data mining or self-repairing regexes.

Can't wait for the first court case that turns on information recorded in a tweet in the LoC.

Re:hmm... (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849420)

We know a lot about Shakespeare.

Really? So why did he leave his second best bed to his wife, and not his best one? Who really wrote the plays attributed to him? We eagerly await your answers.

Re:hmm... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849510)

The exception to this is diaries, and now many people maintain those any more.

Maybe not in written paper form, but certainly many people maintain and update their own blogs, notes, and other status updates on things like Myspace, Facebook, and blogspot. Surely those resources would be a good source for the same type of information that is maintained in diaries. I suppose diaries had/have the added advantage of usually being considered private, so more information may be disclosed in them. However, it's become pretty apparent that there are still many netizens that don't think enough about privacy to keep their blogs and facespaces more discriminatory than a typical diary they would keep.

That said, I wonder if the Library of Congress could find a way to archive the blogosphere.

Re:hmm... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848578)

Hmm...that is a good point...

Re:hmm... (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848640)

I agree that it's probably a waste, but I think it'd be an even bigger waste to actually analyze them all to pick the important ones.

Re:hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848648)

I could see them archiving tweets that were relevant to pop culture or history...but all of them??? Seems like a waste of time and money to me.

Why should Lady Gaga's tweets be archived but not mine*? Isn't it conceivable that I, Anonymous Coward, will become famous in 20 years time? 50 years after that, Twitter will be gone, and I will be dead while someone is looking up information about my early years to write a biography about me.

*other than I do not have a twitter account.

Re:hmm... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849182)

Isn't it conceivable that I, Anonymous Coward, will become famous in 20 years time?

At least, you are a quite well-known and active Slashdot user. However, it seems you suffer from a massively split personality.

Re:hmm... (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849282)

A waste of money and time would be to hire people to read every goddamn tweet in order to find out the relevant ones.

Diabolical Intentions (5, Funny)

Ordonator (1539087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848516)

Clearly, once they've finished, they plan to destroy the entire world so that they can claim to have truly archived all human knowledge, forever.

Re:Diabolical Intentions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848550)

Have we really degenerated that much that Twitter is the whole of human knowledge?

Re:Diabolical Intentions (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848636)

Shut up and get on the Scootie-Puff Jr.

Re:Diabolical Intentions (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848688)

I saw that episode. "Just remember, Scooty Puff Jr. sucks..."

finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848520)

Something I've written is considered good enough to be put into a library? Who wants to touch me?

Oooh, I know (1)

Prikolist (1260608) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848530)

Next they'll archive 4chan

I Love My Twitter: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848534)

But will it BLEND [youtube.com] ?

Yours In Astrakhan,
Kilgore Trout

Pooping (1)

InsaneMosquito (1067380) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848542)

Maybe someday, some historian will care how often we all pooped. Without our saved tweets, how would they know this important information?

Re:Pooping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31848596)

I'm a twitter shitter!

Re:Pooping (3, Interesting)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848674)

I know you are joking, but this kind of stuff is actually very important to historians. For example, the only reason we are able to reconstruct how many hours a day people worked in the medieval era is by looking at court records - the judge will ask things like "what were you doing at five" and the person will respond with answers like "eating" or "sleeping" or "working", and by going though a lot of court records, we were able to guess at how people lived back then.

This will allow the historian of the future to guess much more accurately.

Re:Pooping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849484)

Historians will likely look back and find a culture of thieving bastards. Maybe this is something we want to hide from future generations.

Re:Pooping (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849492)

Trust me on this. There will be *way* more data than anyone needs to reconstruct "typical" expamples of this information, even if 99% of the data created from present-day society disappears.

The obsessives worrying that we're about to enter a digital dark age forget about the massive amount of loss of data, information, photos, etc. from the past, and also underestimate the stupid amount we're archiving (intentionally or otherwise) nowadays.

Modern society is fast approaching the point where the major problem will be archiving too much, not too little. Every digital transaction leaves a footprint, and data storage is becoming so cheap that it's going to get harder not to leave traces of that data *somewhere*, if only via some cache or whatever.

Re:Pooping (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849518)

Someone needs to take one of the diskworls books, and convert it to a tweet play. Have a large group of people each take a character, and tweet that characters speach.

Take that, future historians. You'll need retrophrenology to make it through that analysis.

Re:Pooping (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848708)

Tycho is being a douche... alright, poop time... okay, poop is coming out.

I'm a twitter shitter!

Re:Pooping (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849252)

Future alien archeologists will say: "These fuckwit twits must have had shit for brains."

"Let's saucer on over to another planet, Zog . . . there's nothing to learn mining this crap . . . and we might catch something here . . . ick!"

All these recursive acronyms are great, but... (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848552)

I think it's a really bad idea to define measurement units recursively.

1 new Tweet = 0.00000000000000017263 ( the current LoC + the new Tweet )

The only time... (2, Interesting)

comm2k (961394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848556)

The only time I really actively used Twitter was during the recent LHC 3.5TeV event, because the webstream was completely overloaded. LoC preserving it? Future generations will look back and conclude that some people REALLY did have to TOO much time and trivial stuff to share.

Re:The only time... (2, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848710)

Future generations will look back and conclude that some people REALLY did have to TOO much time and trivial stuff to share.

Sure, why not? You never know what sort of insights you'll get. What people do in their free time is just as important to historians as what they do when they're working. More so, sometimes, since the work is often ephemeral while the free time is an important insight into the culture as a whole.

Most of it's garbage, but garbage middens are one of anthropology's favorite data sources.

Re:The only time... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848778)

I find it to be an extremely useful tool for keeping up on various personalities and the going-ons behind the scenes at certain websites. A sampling of the list of the people I follow:

PADnD (Penny Arcade live tweets their Dungeons and Dragons games)
mattsinger (critic for IFC)
aedavis (Ashley Davis, who draws Once Upon a Pixel)
washcaps (Washington Caps Hockey official twitter)
mcps (Montgomery county Public Schools, who my fiancee works for)
CameronPierce (Bizzaro author)
CERN (LHC stuff, obviously)
BenKuchera (head gaming writer for Ars Technica)
zanelamprey (the guy from Three Sheets)
TimOfLegend (Tim Schafer's official twitter)
reverendanthony (Of Destructoid and Hey Ash Watcha Playin' fame)
RWZombie (Rob Zombie)
thekiko (Kiko, one of the Penny Arcade crew)
Official_PAX (Official twitter of Penny Arcade Expo)
geoffkeighley (Of GameTrailers fame)
Templesmith (Ben Templesmith's official twitter)
TychoBrahe (Tycho aka Jerry Holkins from Penny Arcade)
neilhimself (Neil Gaiman's official twitter)
cinemassacre (James Rolfe, aka Angry Video Game Nerd)
pvponline (Scott Kurtz of PVP fame)
cwgabriel (Gabe aka Mike Krahulik from Penny Arcade)
wilw (Wil Wheaton's official twitter)
joel_gardiner (The guy that plays FPS_Doug on Pure Pwnage)
glapaire (The guy that plays Kyle on Pure Pwnage)
jarettcale (The guy that plays Jeremy on Pure Pwnage)

How many libraries of congress to store all that? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848558)

Great, we've got a variable constant now.

Re:How many libraries of congress to store all tha (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848638)

Great, we've got a variable constant now.

Don't worry, we'll just set up a system to tweet the new value whenever it changes ;)

Re:How many libraries of congress to store all tha (1)

PriNT2357 (1742498) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849226)

What I want to know is, how many tweets to store the library of congress? (Tweets included or not. Take your pick)

Future political campaigns will be fun (1)

merrickm (1192625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848594)

When today's teenagers and young adults are old enough to be running for public office and such, this, along with whatever archives of Facebook and the like may exist, will make for some great entertainment.

I tweeted about this. (4, Funny)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848620)

http://twitter.com/mzzt/status/12179834899 [twitter.com]

It had to be done.

Re:I tweeted about this. (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848792)

too bad your tinyurl won't be archived. maybe if they did then you can set them up to recursively archive itself. hmmmmmm.

Re:I tweeted about this. (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848982)

The LoC isn't archiving URL shortener targets (yet, anyway), but the Internet Archive is on it [archive.org] , which at least ups the likelihood that some future researcher will be able to decode what those links pointed to.

Re:I tweeted about this. (1)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848818)

Oh great. You just divided twitter by zero.

T's (1)

anarking (34854) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848622)

Twittering twits tweet terrible tangents to tantalizing twats teaching totalitarian tools the totality that's timeless trash

The future. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848642)

If they think tweets are worthy of being archived why not just archive every blog and comment in existence? Many of those offer far more worthwhile insight than 99% of tweets.

I remember in school students and sometimes teachers occasionally mocking the customs of past cultures. There was always that subtle arrogance that we're somehow more enlightened than people were 500, 1000 or 2000 years ago. The problem is that people confuse technological advancements for intellectual and philosophical advancement. I'd argue that socially and philosophically humans have progressed little over the last few thousand years. Certainly there have been some cultural shifts, but I'm hard-pressed to see any fundamental shifts. I do think we may be close to one, but judging from what I see on Twitter and Facebook I'm not particularly optimistic.

With the massive proliferation of every last inane comment preserved for posterity I can only imagine how utterly stupid we are going to look to people of the future.

In other words... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848656)

Library of Congress To Archive All Public Tweets

... Twitter's new (publicly funded) "Backup and Data Retention Plan".

Okay, I'm sure someone (probably The Daily Show) will, at some point, find something useful in all that noise.

Legal implications? (2, Interesting)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848662)

All 'useless twits' jokes aside, this is pretty interesting. But I wonder if they'd run into any copyright laws.

Reading the Twitter ToS turns up with this:

You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).

which looks to me like posters retain copyright, but Twitter retains the right to grant others the same license you've granted them (non-exclusive license to provide their service).

So based on my reading, Twitter (and the LoC) are in the clear?

Libraries have an exception (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849156)

I think this would be legal regardless of what the ToS says. See the exemptions given to libraries and archives in 17 USC 108 [copyright.gov] .

Re:Libraries have an exception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849374)

But that's only in the US... Twitter is global.

Re:Libraries have an exception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849378)

Does that mean the Library of Congress could archive all public Facebook accounts?

Why bother? (1)

Neuroticwhine (1024687) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848692)

And never before will the frivolousness of humanity be on such a display!

Because in 100 years time, someone might really want to know that "TwitTwittering: Had an awesome soup today" or that "InaneNYC: Just took such a dump."

A little late for April 1st gags (1)

doggo (34827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848706)

Why? No, seriously, why? Aren't there more important things for the Library of Congress to be spending money and resources on?

One person's trash... (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848716)

...is another person's treasure.

Of course, once it goes on the curb, it's up for grabs.

Small data set (3, Interesting)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848796)

Math for the day:

Without compression, all tweets in human history will fit on a single hard drive costing less than $100.

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=a [twitter.com] (to find the latest tweet number)
http://twitter.com/about [twitter.com] (character limit)
http://www.pricewatch.com/hard_removable_drives/ [pricewatch.com] (1.5TB drive)Delete

http://www.google.com/buzz/fulldecent/18tfNfPHSBp/Math-for-the-day-Without-compression-all-tweets-in [google.com]

Re:Small data set (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849176)

That doesn't takes the ammount of data to keep it archived. It needs an author, a timestamp. You can't just throw all the twits one after the other.

Re:Small data set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849490)

Twitter hasn't been around that long, so "human history" is a super short time.
Besides, even $1 spent on archiving something as stupid as a tweet is an insult to me as an American taxpayer.
I'd sooner see a paid government official getting overtime for having a paid poodle urinate on his face than to do that... geez

What about other microblogging platforms? (1)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848884)

I wonder if they're going to archive stuff like identi.ca too, or any other related platform.

Twiiter (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848918)

While on a whole twitter is very important, most likely in an importance vs amount comparison they would rate as one of the lowest scoring collections of data of all time.

Researchers? (1)

straponego (521991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848930)

You mean advertisers and Stasi. Ugh.

Yeah, yeah, it's public. Agreed. And everybody knows there's no difference whatsoever between what some guy can read and an exhaustive, automated audit trail and connection map of everything that has ever been posted. That's why nobody uses search engines, after all.

One thing I know for sure... (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#31848988)

Gabe will be THRILLED. [penny-arcade.com]

I hope for a highlight (1)

flahwho (1243110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849014)

Kile Orton's (of Chicago Bear & Denver Bronco 'Fame') Twitter is the quintessential collection of tweets ever. I hope it gets highlighted. NECKBEARD FOR PRESIDENT! http://twitter.com/Kingneckbeard [twitter.com]

That's a lot of information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849024)

How many Libraries of Congress is that?

delete the tweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31849090)

delete the tweet

Oblig. (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849102)

All your tweet belong to us!

Usenet (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31849232)

They should have been archiving Usenet from the beginning.

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