Monday, August 23, 2010

Library of Congress starts tweet collection

Posted By on Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 2:50 PM

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Congratulations, Twitter users. That drunk tweet you sent out this weekend will soon be archived by the Library of Congress, the same government agency that once gathered field recordings by early blues artists like Son House and Mississippi John Hurt.

Twitter is now donating all tweets from the social network's 2006 inception onward into perpetuity. According to a Library of Congress press release, researchers will have access to billions of tweets, some of which may actually have lasting historical interest:

A few highlights of the donated material include the first-ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (http://twitter.com/jack/status/20 ), President Obama's tweet about winning the election (http://twitter.com/barackobama/status/992176676), and a set of two tweets from a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/786571964 and http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/787167620).

For those who think their one-in-a-billion tweets will somehow be singled out, Twitter notes in its own press release that there's an ongoing six-month grace period, during which a user can delete regrettable tweets and keep them out of the public record:

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 be used for internal library use, for non-commercial research, public display by the library itself, and preservation.

The bad news is that the Indy is checking up on tweets from everyone who reads this post. The one you sent out Sunday at 2:17 a.m. is especially good.

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