Somehow it doesn't quite rank up there with Thomas Jefferson's gift of his personal library to the institution but the Library of Congress announced Wednesday it has acquired and will store Twitter's entire archive of public tweets.
Some of the tweets will be quite historic. For instance, President Barack Obama tweeted the morning after winning the White House:
We just made history. All of this happened because you gave your time, talent and passion. All of this happened because of you. Thanks
But many tweets will be more garden variety like this one I just found after searching #justinbieber.
tabbyxbieber would probably faint if @justinbieber replied/followed me, it will never happen but i can always dream of it. i love you justin bieber xx
less than 20 seconds ago from web
The Library of Congress announced its new acquisition on its blog.
We will also be putting out a press release later with even more details and quotes. Expect to see an emphasis on the scholarly and research implications of the acquisition. I'm no Ph.D., but it boggles my mind to think what we might be able to learn about ourselves and the world around us from this wealth of data. And I'm certain we'll learn things that none of us now can even possibly conceive...
... So if you think the Library of Congress is "just books," think of this: The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000. Today we hold more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office, and websites of Members of Congress.
We also operate the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program www.digitalpreservation.gov, which is pursuing a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations.
One of my NPR colleagues said the LOC's announcement had a bit of a Big Brother feel to it, like Uncle Sam will be following EVERYBODY. Another questioned the idea of taxpayer dollars paying for saving tweets about, say, Justin Bieber.
My concern: Will our nation's adversaries now be able to take out the LOC with a massive tweet cyberattack?