The Historical Ramifications of a National Twitter Archive

2010_04_14licSwitched.com posted the following article about Twitter and the National Archive plan to record all Twitter posts for posterity. Twitter’s increasingly important role in relaying news and amplifying surreptitious international events apparently wasn’t lost on the Library of Congress. Earlier this month, the organization formally announced a plan to digitally store every single tweet ever twittered. While some, perhaps many, folks scoffed at the move, a tweet archive could serve as an instrumental tool for future historians.

To investigate the insightful and meaningful possibilities of a Twitter reference collection, Slate collected comments from a wide assortment of respected educators. The diverse field of officials hails from a variety of respected institutions, including Yale University, George Mason University and Saint Michael’s College. The historical and journalistic academics unanimously agreed that tweets could provide unprecedented knowledge of dietary practices, linguistic trends, gender roles and other anthropologic information. In a world with constantly shrinking borders, storing such material could preserve precious details concerning dwindling, disappearing and unique cultural practices (imagine, if you will, a world without #followfriday).

The extensively informative piece also addresses the possible dilemmas posed to historians who have to weed through the tedium to find archived twitter treasure. But, that daunting prospect doesn’t seem too drastically different than sorting through page after page of stored newspapers or blindingly scanning microfiche.

From the dawn of the written word, historical accounts also tend to have been written by the conquerors, the oppressors and the elite ruling classes. The Twitter trove could completely alter that historical perspective, and provide first hand annals from the often overlooked everyman and everywoman. READ MORE HERE


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