Library of Congress to Archive Tweets
If you're one to post practically anything that enters your head on Twitter, be it a rant about your two-timing ex-boyfriend, a juicy gossip about your neighbor, or an update about what you're eating for dinner, you may want to rethink that now that all Twitter posts will be archived for posterity.
No less than the Library of Congress, the country's 210-year-old keeper of knowledge and historical records, will collect all the posts on the micro-blogging site. Before the move triggers an outcry from privacy watchdogs, however, Matt Raymond, the library's director of communications, clarified that Twitter's body of knowledge will only be available for scholarly and research purposes.
The library has acknowledged Twitter's "immense impact on culture and history," the site being an important information-sharing tool used by political dissidents in Iran, as well as President Barack Obama's vehicle for declaring his victory in the 2008 election.
Adding Twitter's messages to the library's historical records is a big leap from the latter's known selectivity when it comes to deciding what to keep and what to discard and is clearly an attempt to be in step with the online share-all culture of the 21st century.
The archive promises to be massive: Twitter users flood the micro-blogging site daily with 55 million messages compressed in 140 characters each.
The Twitter archive will be part of the library's "Web capture" project which started 10 years ago. The records chronicle significant historical events such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Already, some 167 terabytes of digital information has been logged.
With 105,779,710 registered users (300,000 new users sign up every day), Twitter logs 19 billion searches per month, or roughly 600 million per day, besting Yahoo and Bing search engines. And while a survey revealed that most of the tweets border on such inanities as "I'm eating a sandwich" variety, many are convinced of the site's power to drum up awareness and support for important causes like the fundraising for the quake victims in Haiti. Even the White House has also caught the micro-blogging bug (White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tweets about Obama's presidential activities).
Since its creation in 2006, Twitter has become a rage among celebrities, businessmen and ordinary folks alike. Actor Ashton Kutcher, currently one of the most followed personalities on Twitter, made headlines when he posted a photo of wife Demi Moore's backside.
Twitter think tanks said the site has grown 1,500 percent since it started. Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams said the phenomenal growth has presented several challenges: how to keep Twitter fresh, interesting, easier to use, make the tweets relevant, and use the micro-blogging platform to make money.
To make revenues, Twitter recently launched Promoted Tweets, an advertising platform that will turn up ads in Twitter search queries based on keywords. Appearing at the top of the search results page, Promoted Tweets will have an accompanying small text indicating that they were sponsored.
Some of the advertisers who have signed up are those which have maintained a strong presence on Twitter such as Best Buy, Red Bull, Starbucks, Bravo and Virgin America.
The announcement was made during Twitter's first Chirp conference in San Francisco, California. The event marked the first time Twitter met with the global independent software developers who created some of its well-loved features.