The U.S. Library of Congress Cares What You Had for Breakfast
by Brian Block
April 27, 2010
It’s true – the U.S. Library of Congress cares what you and millions of others had for breakfast and is logging that data for everyone to see. Recently announced, the Library of Congress has decided to archive every Twitter conversation since the micro-blogging site launched in 2006, making your tweets officially “on the record.”
You may not have given much thought to Twitter, the widely popular social network where users can post 140 character messages with links to news, websites, videos, pictures and blogs, but you may want to begin doing so. These days, most news breaks first on Twitter, and the Library of Congress recognizes this. In the Library of Congress’ blog post discussing the new archival process, they list just some of the tweets considered historically important:
Other ways we’ve seen Twitter impact history? Around the time of the elections in Iran, protestors were able to send out news through Twitter to get around the government’s internet censorship. And remember US Airway Flight 1549, in which Captain Chelsea “Sully” Sullenberger made a heroic landing on the Hudson River? We didn’t have to wait for the TV news to capture the news, as one of the passengers of the plane tweeted updates and photos live from the incident.
Twitter has evolved from a tool primarily used in the tech and communications industry to a universal method by which to share knowledge. We determine a lot of our social networking capital and worth in links and images to share. Who has the most links to the coolest stories or photos? Who is the first to Tweet live from the scene? Our tweets are being mixed in with traditional news sources because we have learned the value of receiving first hand accounts. Trusted information comes from people we feel we know and Twitter allows us to get to know those people, brands and organizations we want to know more about. Twitter also caters to our need for news immediately. We will monitor news updates on Twitter before the full story is posted online on a reputable news site.
Now is your opportunity to join American history if you haven’t already done so by registering for your free Twitter account. Or if you are already signed up, start thinking about the conversations you have through Twitter. This is more than a venue to acquire knowledge and stay ahead of the news; this is a chance to add your life and experience to the Library of Congress’ efforts towards documenting our culture. You, your interests, your daily activities, your problems and your goals all play a role in determining how our diverse culture will be perceived by future generations.