The Library of Congress Will No Longer Archive Every Single Tweet

©Wikimedia Commons ©Twitter

Did you know that the Library of Congress archives every single tweet? The social media platform has been around since 2006, and in 2010 the federal institution began compiling and archiving all tweets. That means every celebrity feud, every controversial political statement, and everything in between.

But the Library of Congress has finally decided enough is enough.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Starting on January 1, 2018, the Library of Congress began to only collect tweets that they believe are historically significant. There are a few reasons for this decision. One is simply the overwhelming volume. Since the archiving practice began seven years ago, the number of Twitter users and tweets has grown dramatically, which has made collecting every single tweet a difficult task.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The tweets themselves have changed as well. Twitter today is full of GIFs, videos, and photos. The Library of Congress does not receive images with tweets, only the text, so a lot of the context and content is lost. And the decision to expand tweets from 140 to 280 characters also played a further role in the decision.

Library representatives said, ““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.” Today, roughly 500 million tweets are sent out every single day.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The collection of tweets is not available to the public now, but might be released one day. Either way, the tweets do serve a historical purpose, and will most likely be parsed and analyzed many times over for valuable social, historical, and other academic inquisitions. Amazingly, when the Library agreed to start collecting tweets in 2010, the number of tweets was only 1/10 of what is produced today.

How far we’ve come…

h/t: Smithsonian