Library of Congress Acquires Entire Twitter Archive

library of congress

Even if you’re not a celebrity or someone who has a lot of followers on Twitter, as long as you have a Twitter account and have sent out “tweets” then you can congratulate yourself because your tweet or tweets are now archived in the Library of Congress – the largest library in the world by shelf space and holds the largest number of books.

The official Library of Congress Twitter account (@librarycongress) sent out a tweet early yesterday about it acquiring the entire Twitter archive but didn’t give the full details.
Library of Congress Tweet

A few hours later, they sent out another tweet but this time providing a link to their official blog post regarding the acquisition of the entire Twitter archive.
Library of Congress Tweet

Here’s more from their official blog post:

Have you ever sent out a “tweet” on the popular Twitter social media service? Congratulations: Your 140 characters or less will now be housed in the Library of Congress.

That’s right. Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.

We will also be putting out a press release later with even more details and quotes. Expect to see an emphasis on the scholarly and research implications of the acquisition. I’m no Ph.D., but it boggles my mind to think what we might be able to learn about ourselves and the world around us from this wealth of data. And I’m certain we’ll learn things that none of us now can even possibly conceive.

The Library of Congress points out some important tweets that have been sent the past few years – the first ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (, President Obama‘s tweet about winning the 2008 election ( and a couple of tweets sent by 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 ( and ( which I blogged about – Student Uses Twitter To Get Out Of Jail.

If you’re a Twitter user, you can now proudly say “my writings are archived in the Library of Congress”. Hehe.. Btw, this means that all 1,201 of my tweets are now part of the Library of Congress. I wonder how someone can access those tweets and how the Library of Congress has organized it? Maybe I could visit the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and find out when I go there in July. :D

Twitter is expected to make its own announcement on its blog later today from “Chirp“, the official Twitter Developer Conference held in San Francisco, California.

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  1. It’s interesting, and a little disturbing.

    Like the Wayback Machine, this is redefining the notion of posting things in public on the Internet. I doubt most of us who posted in the 1990s had any idea that our writings and comments would be searchable and taken completely out of context – possibly forever. It certainly wasn’t our INTENTION, at the time. We thought of it as “temporary publication.” Fortunately, some of us never posted – in public – anything that we’d be horrified to have dredged up today. But it does seem that if you post on Twitter, your expectation is that your words be public – on Twitter. Not forever, wherever, even if that possibility is vaguely covered by the TOS you agreed to before the “wherever” was even contemplated in such a context.

  2. Congratulations, indeed. It never crossed my mind that my thoughts, which I tweet from time to time, would ever be archived in one form or another. But look where it is now… Library of Congress!

    Sosyal!… Hehehe…

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