The Library of Congress Is Giving Up on Collecting Every Useless Public Tweet

The Library of Congress announced Tuesday that it would be no longer be wasting its resources by trying to archive every single public post published on Twitter.

The library embarked on its effort to preserve public tweets in 2010 after Twitter gifted it with a record of all public posts from 2006-2010; all future tweets would be collected as well.

In a short document, the library laid out its decision as follows:

(a) The nature of Twitter has changed over time.

i. The volume of tweets and related transactions has evolved and increased dramatically since the initial agreement was signed.

ii. The Library only receives text. It does not receive images, videos or linked content. Tweets now are often more visual than textual, limiting the value of text-only collecting.

iii. Twitter is expanding the size of tweets beyond what was originally described at the beginning of effort.

(b) The Library now has the first 12 years of public tweets. This period documents the rise of an important social media platform.

(c) The Library generally does not collect comprehensively. Given the unknown direction of social media when the gift was first planned, the Library made an exception for public tweets. With social media now established, the Library is bringing its collecting practice more in line with its collection policies.

The criteria future archived tweets will have to meet wasn’t specified in the library’s announcement or accompanying document explaining the move. Hopefully treasonous tweets written by the president will still fall under the umbrella of posts worthy of preserving.

Image: The Daily Show