Slinky’s in the Library of Congress

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation

This past April, Twitter announced that it is gifting the entire archive of public tweets to the Library of Congress (LOC). That’s right, every public entry of 140 characters or less made from March 2006 on will now be preserved in perpetuity by the LOC.

Besides being thrilled that our very own Ball python Slinky is in the LOC – do you follow his tweets? Find him at SlinkyWorld and learn more about snakes, what’s happening at the Museum, and life in general from a reptilian point of view – I think it’s a valuable and forward-thinking move on the part of the LOC to begin archiving our tweets.

Why’s that, you ask? Well, I think that our collective tweeting will be immensely useful for future research and historic preservation because Twitter is part of our historical record. Even though each tweet is at most 140 characters long, compile all the tweets together (over 50 million/day right now) and you get an incredibly detailed picture of life in the 21st century.

And while you may think that the contents of your tweets won’t matter in the big scheme of history, just remember that the Rosetta Stone was originally just a decree from Ptolemy V describing tax measures. Who knows what questions future researchers will have, and how your tweet on what you had for dinner last night might help …

P.S. Want to follow the LOC on Twitter? You can find them here.

June 2010

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