Technological Advantages

Observing past cultures based on what has been left behind by civilizations of past generations has been the bread and butter of modern day historians. By examining hieroglyphics, clothing, jewelry, and many more artifacts that have been uncovered, historians are able to learn more about these extinct societies and show how their traditions and culture has influenced ours.

The article “Archiving Tweets” By Lauren explained how the tweets of millions of people are being recorded and archived in the library of congress. This article raise’s the provocative questions of whether the idea of storing people’s tweets a good idea or not and what would be the purpose of it. In the article Luke defended the idea of recording tweets in order for our future historians to learn about our present day culture through our daily posts. I agree with Luke’s stand point that tweets should be recorded because even though the information recorded now about a man’s “failed attempt to make a toasted tomato sandwich” does not seem like much to us, that post connected with many other post may help historians a century down the line learn more about society in the early 21’st century.


Historians are going to read our tweets? Seriously?

With the advent of a new technology as powerful and influential as the internet, many aspects of our lives will certainly change. In fact, many aspects of our social lives and daily routines have already changed by the rise of social network like Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace. As always, the government will take action in accordance to our new social behaviors. Out of the many possible changes that they might take, archiving Tweets in the library of congress was definitely beyond many people’s imagination.

Okay, we have many questions with regard to this act. What is the benefit of filing Tweets? What is the downside? And is it cost-efficient to store a constant growing data base for indefinitely long? Well, as a result of this act, a massive amount of data and opinions from our common citizens will become available to historians and statisticians. Historians will then be able generate opinions and reach conclusions from a huge number of primary sources. This archive of daily comments of our common citizens is definitely powerful, geographically widespread, diverse, and enormous. Since twitters do record all sorts of events, our future historians will have no trouble in obtaining information on the public’s reaction to any events and any changes, whether they’re political, social, or economical.

Unfortunately, we might have huge issues if the historians use such system. This huge archive will share some of the same problems as the article on Wikileak had mentioned. The first problem would be: can the archive represent the general opinion? Realistically speaking, we probably do not have an optimistic answer for this question. Reading tweets that are focused on a certain issue is equivalent to extracting a specific population of people out of the whole. Without a doubt, not all Americans tweet, and not all twitters are prone to tweet about certain topics because many will choose to stay silent. Moreover, even for those who have tweeted, they would had probably wrote about 1 sentence of random thought on the topic; they would probably not bother to write an essay to completely express their thoughts on the issue. Due to all the reasons above, taking account of the tweets on the internet would be equivalent to recording the one random thought of the people who tweet and decide to tweet. Under such conditions, our archive of tweets would provide questionable contents and inaccurate reflection of our society. Many people’s voice would not be heard, and for those that are heard, their opinions have a high chance of being incomplete, inaccurate, and thus insignificant.

As such, allowing future historians to write their papers based on this archive might not be a great thing for the sake of recording and educating the next generation. This change in history-recording may not be going to the right direction. And let’s not forget about the costs. Is it beneficial to keep an enormous and constantly growing database of selective and incomplete opinions? Well, there could be other uses for such database. If America were a totalitarian state, this archive could become a handy tool to blacklist the citizens with anti-government views.


Tweeting for a Better Picture

That is absurd! Who would want to record every word any regular person uses to describe their mundane everyday duties. Historians might. Believe it or not, the Library of Congress’ plans to archive every public tweet might actually be of some use. Picture this, an earthquake had just hit New York and already it is in the news. One person tweets about it and like a domino effect millions of others start tweeting the same thing. Except this time tweeters include their reactions and a broken promise to help ease suffering in New York.

One way or another news travel fast and soon billions of people are talking about the tragedy in New York. Picture this scenario and imagine how recording billions and billions of tweets would help future historians draw a picture of one of the darkest times in New York. Although an earthquake may never hit New York, the scenario is very real and can be applied to any event, like the protest in Egypt today. Many U.S. citizens have an Egyptian heritage and a good number of them probably tweeted their opinions about the President who vows not to run for reelection. The tweets can be considered as a small part of a diary or chat room that allows others to read and respond. None the less, the tweets would be used as primary sources to describe the reactions opinions of a wide collection of people.

Certainly Wiki Leaks has become very controversial as it publicly posted national secrets that could potentially hurt our nation. For historians, these leaks may prove to be a good thing as they gain more insight on foreign policies and political affairs. However, these leaks are a sign that calls for greater national security to ensure the safety of our country.