Every public tweet since Twitter’s inception in 2006 will now be digitally archived at the Library of Congress (LOC). Matt Raymond writes on the LOC blog:
Just a few examples of important tweets in the past few years include the first-ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (http://twitter.com/jack/status/20), President Obama’s tweet about winning the 2008 election (http://twitter.com/barackobama/status/992176676), and a set of two tweets from James Buck, a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/786571964) and (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/787167620).
The LOC already has more than 167 terabytes of web-based information archived, including legal blogs, political candidates’ websites, and Congress members’ websites. Many of the reader comments on the LOC’s blog entry announcing the archive are not all that happy. The biggest complaint is that the Twitter archive doesn’t seem like a worthwhile government expenditure right now. Another complaint is in regards to privacy, but as a commenter with the alias “big deal” writes so eloquently:
Don’t tweet private info on the web and you have nothing to worry about. Handle your reputation online as you would normally. If you’re an idiot in real life you’ll be an idiot on twitter, and everyone will know it regardless.
Since nearly everything online is archived in some way or another — even if you delete it — that’s good advice to follow even beyond Twitter.