Archive for the ‘Archiving Tweets Not Diaries?’ Category

Green With Envy

April 30, 2010

                                                 GREEN WITH ENVY

The local paper was not interested in printing my article on building a National Diary Archive in this city.   However, they have run feature stories about the still wildly popular hobby and lucrative business of scrapbooking.   

Counter-intuitively, a local store that sells blank books for journal writing would not hang a flyer about my journal workshop.  I have canceled journal workshops for lack of interest.  I have felt the breeze of doors slamming in my face regarding the idea of creating a National Diary Archive to preserve the thoughts and feelings and stories of the common person. 

Meanwhile, on April 14, Doug Gross of CNN wrote: “Twitter and the Library of Congress announced Wednesday that every public tweet posted since Twitter started in 2006 will be archived digitally by the federal library.”  Matt Raymond, the Library of Congress communications director, is seemingly ecstatic by what might be learned through this “wealth of data.”  And Twitter itself gushes: “It’s very exciting that tweets are becoming a part of history.” 

Jealousy washes over me.  Save imbecilic tweets and not the mindful outpourings of self-discovery, not the handwritten records of personal history, work, travels or relationships?   I wonder what wealth of information could be gleaned by saving all of our phone calls.  

How about if we save our “to do” lists?  Ah well, someone has already done that in the journaling world.  She collected her lists.  I suppose there was a revelation there, if nothing else it would have been that we spend a lot of time on things that are, in the end, not very important after all.   Given one hundred years our lists might be a fascinating thing…if you needed background for a novel. 

So, if tweets are valuable as part of the history of social culture, why not journals?  Or is it a matter of the ease with which tweets have been collected as opposed to the money and tenacious work of collecting handwritten journals?


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