Jewish World Review
Dec. 8, 2011
/ 12 Kislev, 5772
If you've ever tweeted, you're in the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress, the repository of the nation's most important literature, histories and documents, has reached an agreement with Twitter to archive every public tweet ever sent.
That means Kim Kardashian's single-woman's lament following the breakup of her short-lived marriage this year -- "Can't get my boot off and I'm all by myself! Don't know what 2 do! LOL. I need someone to pull it off! Been tryin 4 20 mins!" -- will join Thomas Jefferson's library and a Gutenberg Bible in the library's hushed marble precincts.
Twitter began in March 2006, and an estimated 140 million tweets are sent every day, compressing America's likes, dislikes, hookups, lunch plans, celebrity observations and such updates as "plane arriving at gate" in bursts of 140 characters or fewer.
Twitter says it will not include tweets that the sender has declared protected as private, but careless as Americans are about their online privacy, the library likely will be getting huge volumes of titillating tweets.
The library plans to create a searchable database of the tweets, meaning early clients might well be jealous lovers and divorce lawyers.
The tons of tweets could serve as a great resource for businesses, investors and trend spotters by tracking changes in public mood and opinion and consumer tastes and inchoate public demand for new products and services, a process known as data mining.
The public reaction to news of the existence of a massive, all-inclusive Twitter drive was in itself an indication of a significant shift in the public's thinking.
n 2003, the Pentagon planned something called the Total Information Awareness program that would data-mine publicly accessible databases for indications of terrorist activity, not changing skirt lengths or tastes in vodka.
Privacy advocates went nuts over the potential for the invasion of privacy and persuaded Congress to kill the program. The Twitter archive is, in a sense, TIA returning piecemeal, to be sure in the more reassuring context of the Library of Congress rather than the Pentagon.
Bill Lefurgy, the library's digital-initiatives program manager ---talk about a title that wasn't around in Jefferson's time -- told Federal News Radio that Twitter was a "unique way of communication," one that will provide a "unique record of our time."
One hopes that Lefurgy is right, because based on the average tweet, especially the public ones, we may be accumulating the world's largest collection of trivia and drivel.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment by clicking here.
• 12/07/11 Discoveries go to the core of what makes us humans
• 12/06/11 Stealing elections badly in Russia
• 12/05/11 Sometimes paranoia is common sense by another name
• 12/02/11 When the U.S. truly became one nation
• 12/01/11 Last chance to snap up a Maybach
• 11/30/11 Iran wants respect without earning it
• 11/29/11 Surprise! Spider-Man may weave a profitable web
• 11/28/11 Italians entertain novel proposition: Paying their taxes
• 11/25/11 No time to let up on al-Qaida
• 11/24/11 Congress Quietly Abolishing Friday
• 11/23/11 Cleaning up after supercommittee implosion
• 11/22/11 Jailing minors with adults adds to problems
• 11/21/11 Brilliant strategy? Action by inaction
• 11/18/11They're going to eat horses, aren't they?
• 11/17/11 A pretend stick shift for pretend drivers
• 11/16/11 Clinton's vast experiences: Did NBC pick the wrong Chelsea?
• 11/15/11 Occupy protesters, you've made your point. Now, scat
• 11/10/11 Our vets are a national problem?
• 11/09/11 Requiem for a once-great sport
• 11/08/11 A toilet as smart as its occupant
• 11/07/11 Prerevolutionary gems in need of TLC
• 11/04/11 Feds must stop scam of stealing from dead children
• 11/03/11 Bank listens very closely to customer lynch mob
• 11/01/11 TV that's leading the people away from core socialist values
• 10/31/11 NATO should not be a victim of its success
• 10/28/11 Iran mulls getting rid of president and presidency
• 10/27/11 Bienvenidos a Dayton and bring your businesses with you
• 10/26/11 Archivists long for Obama's teleprompter
• 10/25/11 United Nations to run the Internet?
• 10/24/11 Attention, world: You've got the cash. We've got the houses
• 10/19/11 Oil pipeline must be in America's future
• 10/18/11 U.S. plans limited mission in an Africa with no limits
• 10/17/11 Social Security's grave mistakes
• 10/12/11 NASA's help-wanted sign for astronauts
• 10/10/11 Saving Thomas Jefferson''s chimneys
• 10/06/11 Uncle Sam's answer to deadbeats --- robo-calls
• 10/04/11 Christie should ignore jibes on his weight
• 10/03/11 Iran says its warships will head for Jersey shore
• 09/29/11 Europeans bristle at Obama's lectures
• 09/28/11 Jessica Rabbit for the defense
• 09/27/11 Russia learns outcome of next March's presidential election
• 09/26/11 Another try at leaving no child behind
• 09/23/11 This generation needs a job more than a name
• 09/22/11 In the lane next to you: A driverless car
• 09/20/11 Cloudy, cool, chance of falling satellite
• 09/14/11 Humanitarian extortion
• 09/13/11 Paging Dr. Watson; he's there in 3 seconds
• 09/09/11 Forecasting 100 percent chance of heavy metal
• 09/08/11 A jobs program at Obama's doorstep
• 09/07/11 Iran's government afraid of the water
• 09/06/11 Congress returns, tanned, rested and testy
• 09/05/11 Space nations must clean up after themselves
• 09/02/11 Osama bin Laden died a failure and he knew it
• 09/01/11 Time to retire political pie in the face
• 08/31/11 Labor Day celebrates what, exactly?
• 08/30/11 These arrestees really are framed
• 08/25/11 When in an earthquake, block traffic
• 08/23/11 A case for discretion in deportation arrests
• 08/22/11 Tough times or not, parents shell out for school
• 08/18/11 Being unpleasant for fun, profit, promotion
• 08/17/11 Time to prepare for the end game in Libya
• 08/16/11: Super Committee starts facing reality
• 08/15/11: World's fastest plane disappears even faster
• 08/12/11: British cops track rioters through security cameras
• 08/11/11: Relax. There is no Death Star
• 08/10/11: House pages run final errands
• 08/09/11: U.S. treading water on job creation
• 08/08/11: Uncle Sam, the world's permanent guest
• 08/05/11: Most 9/11 victims not on federal death records
• 08/04/11: Russian PM calls U.S. a parasite. He should be so lucky
• 08/03/11: Congress goes from one bind to another
• 08/02/11: D.B. Cooper may no longer be a mystery
• 08/01/11: Libya's latest weapon against NATO --- lawsuits
• 07/29/11: He'll always be known as Hot Wheels Handler
• 07/25/11: Recruiting children to save a dying town
• 07/22/11: Bachmann's admirable medical candor
• 07/12/11: Social Security's grave mistakes
• 07/08/11: Debt crisis need not be constitutional crisis
• 07/07/11: Startups entice new talent with kickball, treehouses
• 07/05/11: Stranded tourists get rare treat
• 06/30/11: The dollar Americans refuse to spend
• 06/27/11: The hangman doesn't cometh
© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE