First MoMA acquires [email protected] and now the Library of Congress (aka @librarycongress) is acquiring every tweet since March 2006. Needless to say, Twitter is elated. But there is a stipulation, according to the Twitter blog:
Only after a six-month delay can the Tweets will be used for internal library use, for non-commercial research, public display by the library itself, and preservation.
But don’t only rely on the venerable Library of Congress to be the only way to access historic tweets. Google has released Google Replay which will allow you to search tweets historically to see what people were saying on a given topic at a certain point in history — though considering 55,000,000 tweets a day are sent (and that number is climbing), I don’t know how easy it will be to sift through the mindless chatter to get to the gems.
But is it just me or does there seem to be an undeclared acquisitions race among collecting institutions to lay claim to the most unorthodox thing they can. Where this will lead no one knows but Madgalena Sawon of Postmasters tweeted one scenario that may certainly raise eyebrows:
With all the tweets deposited in the Library of Congress it’s time for NGA [aka the National Gallery of Art] to acquire [the] Chatroulette global penis database.
Interesting idea … but I have to admit it’s always great to see institutions look past the monetary value of things and elevate the bonds we all share. So, next time some luddite asks you “Who do you think is interested in what you had for breakfast?” You can confidently respond, “The Library of Congress, asshole!”