Social media’s past matters, too

April 15, 2010

If you spend any time paying attention to social media, you’ll hear plenty of chatter about its future. Google and the Library of Congress have taken steps this week to preserve its past: The Library of Congress will archive every public tweet generated since Twitter’s launch in 2006, and Google is creating a Twitter timeline that will show what users were talking about and when, eventually as far back as Twitter’s first day, too.

Who cares? I do, for one. Interspersed alongside all the tweets out there about Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, there are meaningul, insightful and entertaining tweets about all kinds of topics, ideas and issues. Google and the Library of Congress are establishing a digital record of what our society was talking about in real-time in the early 21st century. That’s a form of history that should be preserved. I’ve often wondered whether anyone will do the same with Facebook, and I hope they will.

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