Remember when the Library of Congress said they’d archive every single tweet ever? It was a bit much, it turns out.
The LoC’s New Year’s resolution will be giving up on archiving all public tweets — a project started in 2010 in a joint agreement with Twitter to grab every 140 (and now 280) character blurb. Much like your midnight snacking and excuses for avoiding the gym, that plan is now going out the window on Dec. 31, according to a white paper released by the Library of Congress. Why? The Library admitted there are too many tweets to compile.
“After this time, the Library will continue to acquire tweets but will do so on a very selective basis under the overall guidance provided in the Library’s Collections Policy Statements and associated documents,” the paper explained. “Generally, the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy.”
This decision may be for the best. The Library itself said it was doing a mediocre job of grabbing all tweets, with the LoC only archiving text tweets. Does this mean President Trump’s infamous wrestling GIF won’t make the cut? The LoC didn’t specify its new policy when it comes to presidential tweets.
And the jump from 140 to 280 characters is a headache for the Library, which pointed to the character increase as a reason it is axing the collection moving forward.
Tweets dating back to 2006 will remain in its archive, but the Library will now be “bringing its collecting practice more in line” with how it handles websites, which has been on a more select basis.