The Library of Congress is done archiving your silly tweets

The Library of Congress is done archiving your silly tweets

In a press release, the library said Tuesday that "the nature of Twitter has changed" and cited Twitter's new 280-character limit, an increased frequency of tweeting, and the rise of non-text tweets to conclude that almost 12 years of tweets - from Twitter's inception in 2006 until the end of 2017 - is more than enough for future scholars to pore through.

Beginning 1 January, The Library of Congress will "acquire tweets on a selective basis".

US Library of Congress Ends Twitter Archiving Project

The Library of Congress has come to the conclusion that maybe not everything posted to Twitter is worth remembering. The platform hosted about 500 million daily tweets in 2013, at which point the Library of Congress had already amassed an archive of roughly 170 billion tweets and counting.

In their white paper, the Library of Congress claimed that several factors contributed to their decision to end the mass archiving. The initiative was bold and celebrated among research communities, " wrote Library of Congress spokeswoman Gayle Osterberg on its website. First and foremost from a collection perspective: the sheer number of tweets. It will, instead, collect them on a "very selective basis". Tweets now are more often visual than simply textual.

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The Twitter collection will remain embargoed until access issues can be resolved in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.

"With social media now established, the Library is bringing its collecting practice more in line with its collection policies", it said in the document. "Given the unknown direction of social media when the [collection of tweets] was first planned, the Library made an exception for public tweets". But the Library of Congress will stop archiving every tweet on December 31, 2017.

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"The volume of tweets and related transactions has evolved and increased dramatically since the initial agreement was signed", the library explains in a white paper accompanying the announcement. Throughout its history, the Library has seized opportunities to collect snapshots of unique moments in human history and preserve them for future generations.

So when will future historians get to dig into the vast Twitter archive now being held by the USA government?

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