History will judge our tweets
By Nafari Vanaski
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013, 11:30 a.m.
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
This might go down in history as the most bird-brained idea ever.
We are talking here about Twitter, whose logo is a bird.
The Library of Congress has announced plans to begin collecting public tweets for its collection. The collection will date from Twitter's inception in 2006 until now. Right now, about 340 million tweets are posted every day.
The Library pointed out in its statement that “social media is supplementing and in some cases supplanting letters, journals, serial publications and other sources routinely collected by research libraries.”
Translation? The snapshot of our world today might be composed more of our tweets than of “50 Shades of Grey.”
Well, thank goodness. The last thing we need is to have future generations thinking we'd all slosh through a trio of horrid, kinky novels just to read the juicy bits that are still terribly written.
But the next-to-last thing we need is to be judged by the tweets of any given Kardashian, Charlie Sheen and most professional athletes. And then there are those tweets announcing breaking news — “RIP Morgan Freeman” — only to reverse course 15 minutes later after learning he is not dead: “Oops. My bad!”
In the grand scheme of things, we could come off looking worse than the 1980s.
Because the Library has about a million newspapers in its records, there's a chance I'm in the history books. But let's be realistic — no one cares about periodicals anymore.
So to angle for a bigger place in history, and to get a better understanding of the historical significance of saying as little as you can in 140 characters while often abandoning grammar, I've joined the dark side. I'm now on Twitter.
Almost immediately, I had my doubts. After choosing a name and rejecting an invitation to follow Mariah Carey and other luminaries, I officially launched the account. It took only six minutes to get my first follower. Could it be that the world has been waiting for me … on Twitter? Had Stephen King followed me already?
Not really. My first follower was @Sherri_Garich, whom I do not know and who is probably not a real person. Under her name on her profile was the message, “I will destroy you.” If that does not say, “Welcome to Twitter,” then what does?
Still looking for historical significance, I scanned my page and found a section highlighting trending tweets in the United States. At the time, one of the most popular topic hashtags was #HowToKeepYourMan, which offered a lot of advice that will no doubt stand the test of time. Among them: storing your boyfriend in formaldehyde and learning how to play “Call of Duty.” Also this advice: “Do exactly the opposite of whatever Taylor Swift is doing.”
OK. That was funny. Historically significant, though? I guess we'll find out in 50 years, when some doctoral student is tweeting her thesis about what life was like in the 2010s.
Twitter could be a good thing, perhaps. It's good to know that you don't have to be Stephen Hawking to reserve a spot in history. On the other hand, somewhere stored in the Library will be a tweet from Chris Brown denying he's dating Rihanna again.
Oh, yeah. History will be kind to us.
Nafari Vanaski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8669 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach her on Twitter at @NafariTrib. Remember — your tweetis destined for history.
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