Archiving Twitter

Nearly seven years ago, the Library of Congress announced an ambitious partnership: it would be working with Twitter to archive each 140-character tweet. Some things have changed in the intervening years. Twitter has become a venue for the President of the United States to speak to his constituents. This year tweets doubled in size. And, according to an article in The Atlantic last year, the Library of Congress’ tweet archive is still largely theoretical. While tweets get harvested, they are unprocessed in any way. The current protocol is, in the words of Andrew McGill for The Atlantic, “the digital equivalent of throwing a bunch of paperclipped manuscripts into a chest and giving it a good shake.” Not great.

Photo by Zeyi Fan, used under CC BY-NC 2.0:

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