The US Library of Congress has acquired the database of the famous social micro-blogging service Twitter. According to their blog, the Library will now host tweets from almost 75 million tweeters across the globe. At least, all public tweets starting from the company’s launch since 2006.
A study published by RJMetric on Computer World Magazine last January 2010 shows that of the 75 million users at the end of a large number of the accounts are inactive with 40% of it not even sending a single tweet yet and 25% not having any followers at all. Twitter also adds up to 6.2 million users monthly.
Twitter, a social micro-blogging service, generates about 55 million tweets a day. Only a small percentage of its tweets are deemed private since it is popular for its public updates from the users themselves. The US Library Congress acts as a research arm for the Congress. It houses a collection millions of books, journals, magazines, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts. The largest library in the world, it is also one of the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States.
The Twitter and the Library of Congress collaboration have a big impact on sharing of information across the globe for research and preservation purposes. Although there would be a 6-month delay in the publishing of tweets in the archives of the Library of Congress, Twitter’s decision to donate their database to the public, gives the population an access to momentous events in the history. These include tweets pertaining to issues that delve on the politics, economy, natural disasters and even personal triumphs. The plethora of information that will be available will be a boon for researchers interested in the “vox populi”. Access to these data are however limited to internal library use, non-commercial research, public display in the library itself, and preservation.
On the other hand, Twitter’s tie-up with the Library of Congress should raise some eyebrows for security conscious users. The idea of their tweets being immortalized might be a bit daunting for users who would have regretted and will eventually regret some of their tweets. With tweets coming unedited like they are, there are bound to be some mistakes that will definitely find its way in the Library of Congress.