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Our tweets are being archived
May 14, 2012
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by Mark Ollig

During the last two years, yours truly has been an active user on the social media site, Twitter.

The latest Twitter counter statistics reveal user @Bitsandbytes has created 5,409 messages (tweets) as of last Thursday.

So, on average, I have been posting 7.4 Twitter messages of 140 characters (Twitter’s maximum character limit) or less, per day.

Did you know all of our tweet messages are being saved for future generations?

Yes, dear readers and fellow Twitter users, your US Library of Congress has been authorized by the federal government to save all Twitter tweets (I love saying that) which have been broadcast to the public over the online social media site, Twitter.

“We have an agreement with Twitter where they have a bunch of servers with their historic archive of tweets, everything that was sent out and declared to be public,” said Bill Lefurgy, the digital initiatives program manager at the Library of Congress’s national digital information infrastructure and preservation program.

We’re talking billions and billions of tweets here folks.

I find it comforting to know public-tweeted messages, such as this one by local WCCO-TV reporter Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ), are being digitally archived forever, in some colossal capacity, US government- owned, data server:

“On Fishing Opener week: Who decides if it’s a lake or a pond? 11,842 lakes? I’d say there are 38 that are legit.”

We can sleep better at night knowing this recent tweet by “Weird” Al Yankovic (@alyankovic), “I love it when geeks transform into hipsters. ‘No no, now I’m a geek IRONICALLY’,” is being saved for future generations to ponder its meaning.

The 20,128 tweets posted so far by user @NASA will certainly make for interesting reading in 500 years.

NASA recently tweeted this message, “NASA Mars Rover Opportunity finding more evidence of water on the Red Planet! http://go.nasa.gov/IpD8P3.”

I wonder what will become of all of those Internet links by the year 2512.

Twitter has become embraced by many celebrities who are now tweeting messages directly to their fans. Sometimes they engage in interactive dialog by answering questions, or simply acknowledge the good wishes they send.

As many of you know, I am a former Trekkie, who has evolved into today’s more sensible Trekker.

I am following some celebrity tweets, including a few from the Star Trek actors.

William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) would many times end his tweets, with “My best, Bill.” The good captain correctly surmised he could save 10 precious Twitter characters by instead using “MBB” when ending his tweets.

Here is a Twitter message sent by @WilliamShatner on March 14, 2011 at 6:14 p.m. “Facebook disabled my account this weekend as an imposter acct. Now they want me to prove that it’s me. Don’t they know who I am? MBB.”

At 7:53 p.m. Shatner then posted, “My Facebook account has been restored. My best, Bill.”

Leonard Nimoy, (@TheRealNimoy) who played Mr. Spock, tweeted this message May 7, “Following Comedy Awards. So much talent. And Don Rickles, so great. #LLAP.”

LLAP stands for his well-known Star Trek message “Live Long and Prosper.”

Nimoy also posted this summation on his Twitter profile page, “Born in Boston. Went to Hollywood at 18. 16 years later cast as Spock in Star Trek.”

Speaking of Don Rickles, Mr. Warmth himself is also gracing Twitter with his wit and humor. Here is the very first Twitter message from user (@DonRickles), posted July 6, 2011: “Hi, I am Don Rickles posting my first tweet, join me on my trip to greatness!”

Even television’s original 1960s Batman, played by Adam West, (@therealadamwest) is tweeting. He posted this cleverly amusing tweet April 7, “Tomorrow, the Easter Egg hunt. It’s tough for me. I never win because EggHead always finds a way to cheat.”

President Barack Obama has an official Twitter account (@BarackObama).

The President personally (tweets from the President are signed: -bo) sent this tweet Feb. 14 to the First Lady, Michelle Obama, “Hey, @MichelleObama: Happy Valentine’s Day. -bo”

Just think, in the future, researchers will be able to data-mine these and all the other Twitter messages that have been archived.

Exactly what those future researchers will use these tweets for is somewhat unclear.

One suggested area of study might include measuring historical time-line events and how the public reacted to them through the online Twitter messages posted during that time.

“There have been studies involved with what are the moods of the public at various times of the day in reaction to certain kinds of news events,” Lefurgy said. “There’s all these interesting kinds of mixing and matching that can be done using the tweets as a big set of data,” he concluded.

There are currently 15,201,190 Twitter users following President Obama’s tweets.

Twitter shows your humble columnist (@Bitsandbytes) with 450 faithful Twitter followers who are reading through his daily musings and rants.

I suppose it’s time for me (and all of you) to get back to tweeting more content to the world – so it can be archived for future studying.


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