The Library of Congress Will Stop Archiving Every Tweet. Good.Breaking News
tags: Library of Congress, Twitter, tweets
Taken as a whole, Twitter is a sort of Borgesian fever dream. Its users—some humans, some bots—send out hundreds of millions of messages a day. Some of those missives contribute to ongoing conversations, while many more go unread altogether. In aggregate, the volume is deafening, noise drowning out signal.
As such, it always seemed vaguely quixotic that the Library of Congress was set on archiving the platform as a whole. It first announced the project in 2010, and the effort continued in the years that followed, swelling to encompass 170 billion tweets by 2013 alone. Soon, however, this improbable endeavor will finally end. And that’s almost certainly for the best.
As the institution explained in a blog post on Tuesday, it will cease to archive every new tweet starting in January 2018. Instead, it will then begin to “acquire tweets on a selective basis.” Elaborating on that shift in a separate white paper, the library explained that it would focus on gathering collections of “thematic and event-based [tweets], including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy.”
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