History and Transparency

Are we in a world of too much transparency, or too little has always been the question people have argued and debated. It seems like people like to pick and choose what they would like to know more about and what they would not like to get public. Many individuals preach privacy and the right to privacy as something which should be upheld and maintained for the sake of citizens, but why do we still seek transparency in issues where national security is involved? These issues time and time again are questioned and debated and there never seems to be a solution or one set decision on what should be done. Reading these two articles “Archiving Tweets” and “WikiLeaks and the Historical Community,” made this opinion of mine even stronger?

When it comes to our personal lives, we prefer and expect to have our privacy, but if we as individuals are comfortable enough to update every breathing second of our lives on social websites like twitter-we should not be concerned about the decison of Library of Congress’s to digitally archive public tweets. In today’s date, most individuals are machine driven, or technology driven. We always have access to the internet and social networking websited like twitter and facebook on our laptops, desktops and even cell phones!  We are constantly seen walking down streets balancing our walk and our typing speed on blackberry phone keypads. If this is the case, then it may certainly be a wise decision to record the behavior of humans and how they maintain a craze to have their voice heard and get noticed via these meduims of socialization. Historians may in fact come across a lot of jergen and incomprehensible tweets, but I would certainly agree with one of the commentators on the “Archiving Tweets” article, somewhere or another historians will find what they are looking for.

History is not something which remains constant and neither are the means in the way history is both taught and studied and read. If this is the case then technology has already started making the process for both historians and students different. We have more means of doing research and collecting data then we may have ever had before, in addition the ability to archive public human activity on the net, could help conclude on many other things concerning perhaphs human activity, performance, sociology and politics. The wikileaks incident dumped many government classified documents out in the public, whether this should be a national security concern within itself is very important to realize. Where do we find the balance between openness and secretcy? Who makes these decisions? Well I wish there was an easier way to find the answers to questions like these, however, incidents like these which happen once in a while do nothing to aid in answering these questions. I would have to agree with the author, K.C. Johnson, document dumps like this one only complicate the situation even more.


Where’s The Line?

I do not see the point of archiving the billions of tweets on twitter in the library of congress.  If the intention is for historical purposes I would contend  that billions of tweets are too much to sift through to be historically relevant. Historians already have enough trouble sifting through the surplus of information out there.  It would be much more productive not logging the tweets themselves but rather the trending topics.  With the trending topics you can keep track of what the hot button issues of the times are. Seeing what the most searched topics are on search engines would also be a suitable tool for historians. Blog posts and things of that nature are much more formidable tools for historians and are all meant to be publicized.

My biggest problem with this though is the privacy issue.  Not so much so about the tweets but about where it made lead.  This could be the start of a troubling trend.  It seems like the government time and time again moves the line governing privacy closer and closer into our personal space.  This is the first step in a process that’s sure to get worse. We should learn from the Allie’s mistake in world war 2 and stop Hitler at Munich. We need to draw a line.

Line in the Sand


There is no “everyone” in PRIVACY, or is there?

We’ve come a long way from the strenuous and tedious handwritten recordings on paper. Entering the 21st century, the Internet era has completely taken over. The technology of computers and other electronics has not only become tools to enhance productivity but has become the way we live. People are constantly on the Internet looking for data, whether it is  information to help them on their project to even information on social networking sites to see what their friends new status is. Whatever it is you’re looking for, the Internet probably offers it. This is a huge step forward in information gathering. It helps not only everyday people but as well as historians whom are always sifting through loads of information. With that comes consequences as well. The access to information has become so easily attained that people have become reliant on technology and the Internet. People become mind boggled when something unexpected happens: like their phone running out of batteries. Also people do not appreciate the information attained when generations before people would die (exaggerated) for these information.

In addition, another issue rises. With sites like Twitter and Wikileaks being archived, people may feel that our privacy is taken away from us. Ultimately, that is the case. There really are no secrets on the Internet. Once it is posted on the Internet, there is no way of taking it back. With that, people need to start screening what they post if they don’t want their secrets being found. Nonetheless, the Internet still is a great aspect to our future.


Privacy….What Privacy?!

Uncle Sam must be out of his mind! He reads my emails, listens to my phone conversations and now he wants to record my Twitter post????

The government regulates almost every aspect of our lives in one way or another. Isn’t that enough? Twitter is a place where people vent, share useless information about everything and nothing, and what they are doing at the moment. Twitter for the most part is public and almost anyone can view a person’s tweet unless its private, which don’t happen often. Just cause one is willing to share a tweet like ” I am watching Zack and Cody !”  with the twitter world that does not mean they want a historian from the year 3000 reading it ! What happens on Twitter in 2011 stay on Twitter in 2011!

Technology keeps on developing and changing. This (forever being renewed) technology is providing evidence for future historians about our way of life during this present time in ways that we couldn’t even begin to imagine ten years ago. Its cool for current historians to find unique meaningful messages on walls of caves or tombs and other artifacts from centuries ago. Too bad for future historians it will be less cool because instead they will find an archive full of twitter messages stating what a person had for breakfast and “failed tomato sandwiches”. Thats not exactly the way I want the future to learn about the present.


Mind Your Business Uncle Sam !


Recording history digitally

Recording history has been easier than ever with the help of technology. Think of just a couple of decades ago when all the information was recorded in written documents. Tons of papers were used and kept from generation to generation. Like Luke says in his comment, “As anyone who’s done serious archival work before knows, you spend a whole lot of time digging through irrelevant material to find the gem that’ll be the center of your fourth chapter. But that gem only is a gem because of how you contextualize it and relate it to other bits of information you’ve gathered. “With the advances of technology, nowadays we can record all information in a disk, cd or just in the memory of our computer.  Our next generations don’t need to search through an encyclopedia to learn about us, they do not need to walk in to a library to research about which team won the superbowl in 2011 or the major political events around the world in 2010. They will just need to click to search the topic, and click again to sort through all the given information.

We are fully engaged with technology every day. We know what is going on with our friends’ life even though we have not seen or talked to them in years, we just need to check their facebook status. And it seems to be that all these social network information are being recorded and stored somewhere for good.

People will sure think of privacy matters, but regardless, we are making history every day, and history is not just a recollection of events in the past, we should learn from it for a better future in the same way our future generations should learn from us.


Being A Part of History?

Many technological advances have been made over many decades in which it have had impacted many people in both positive and negative ways. People over the years have been so engrossed with new technology that they’ve become so dependent on it. Many people no longer write letters or postcards because email took its place. Online social networking such as Facebook, Aim, Msn,Twitter etc are very popular, nowadays many people no longer mingle around in public areas to meet new people because doing it online is faster and convenient.

Future historians may look back into our emails, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace or any sort of technological database to gather any sort of information about our culture based on how we lived and thrived in society. Based on the article “Archiving Tweets”, the Congress is planning to keep track of peoples’ tweet regardless of whether the tweets are important or useless. This may also cause additional problems for those who have privacy concerns because not everyone is interested in advertising about themselves nor interested in reading about other peoples’ business. However this may help contribute to future historians’ research as evidence for our time period since everyone can leave a bit of history behind. I mean who doesn’t want to be a part of history?

Based on “WikiLeaks and the Historical Community” I find it very fascinating that Wikileaks contains such important guarded national data . Wikileaks would definitely be a great source of information for future historians because they would be able to learn, reveal and rediscover our history and continue building it.


One day you may not have privacy

Since the internet technology was improving, most of the people shared their thought or information on xanga, blog, twitter such kind of network service. However, before you wrote something, had you ever imagined that everyone could see what you posted on your space? From March, 2006, all the tweets were stored at the Library of Congress, which means all the twitter users’ information was stored too. Wikileaks document dump does the same thing, but more than that. It exposed variety of unknown of different countries. For sure the governments don’t want Wikileaks keeps running, and the owner had a lot of troubles from them, but it provides historian some secret information and help them to analyze different events. Therefore, not only for now but future also, historian could easily find information by sitting in front of the computer instead of reading a whole bunch of books.

Undoubtedly archiving tweets and Wikileaks document dump help so much by gathering the information; nevertheless, some may ask what about their privacy? This is a serious issue because some don’t want everyone knows about them. Also is it necessary to archive all the tweets? I doubt because most of the thing people posted on twitter were just meaningless, such as “My cat just scratches me!!” Therefore, this issue should be concerned earnestly.


Welcome to the Future of No Privacy!

In the past decade, people have grown to be more and more dependent on technology. Technology offers us many advantages. It allows us to connect with people around the world. In addition, technology has the answers to our questions, even the silliest ones. Most people cannot go a day withour their phones, checking their email, or logging onto Facebook. It is through our reliance on technology that future historians are able to have some insight as to who the people in the 2000 era are like. Tweets, Facebook statuses, and Tumblr posts document our lifestyles. Archiving tweets is a useful method in gathering information. The WikiLeaks dump can also provide valuable data for historians since it will give clues to the political affairs of America and foreign nations. Historians no longer have to dig or go through caves to find information because they can easily find it now.

However, there is a privacy issue. Should the government draw a line as to the type of information it is collecting? I personally do not think it is necessary to archive all the Tweets because some of it contain personal information. This practice of providing information for future historians does make me wonder if there is privacy anymore. I think is great that we found a way to let future historians know more about us but people should be able to have some privacy of their own that nobody can google.


Your information is exposed!

In today’s society technologies are more advanced than it was back then. We are able to put information electronically instead of storing them as books or documents. When Historians need to do research on information that they need, they no longer have to go through books. Instead they can simply go on any archive that is stored electronically and get the information.

For example, the link about Twitter has me thinking that if I were to use a Twitter account and tweeted almost every minute of what I did in a day,  in the future if a Historian wanted to check back on me because of some odd reason, he would just need to look through the Twitter archives. There is no need to ask the people around me about what type of person I am, the things I did and how I lived my life. A Twitter archive can have many benefits for future Historians but it also has a drawback. Having a Twitter archive remove privacy from people, things that people might not want others to see will be seen by all.

With all these new technologies in today’s society, there is no need to worry about losing information because it is safely stored and backed up in case of any problems. This also gives us the fact that we have no privacy since we do not think of all the people that may see our post or blog. There is always an access to most of the things that we use.

In the website Wiki Leaks, we can get so many information about our histories. Wiki Leaks is a type of media that publish original sources along with their stories so readers and Historians can see evidence of the truth. I think that Wiki Leaks is a great site for future historians to look through and gather information for their research. Future Historians would most likely be able to have a more convenient way of accessing information.


Post At Your Own Risk!

Today almost everything we do is noticed. What we say, what we do, where we go, are all being watched somehow. This provides historians with much fodder to analyze. Historians of the future will be able to look back on the past and have access to piles of information about every citizen. The scientists will be able to gather all this information through Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, MySpace, blogs, and any other web based social network. The scariest part about this is that we give all the information away, without even realizing it. In the past such extensive records were only kept on a few famous people, if even that. Today, almost everybody engages in social networking, allowing any stranger to access more information then they should be permitted to.

The fact that Twitter is being archived is not a surprise to me. Whether Congress announced it or not, everything that is done on the web can be traced back to its user. If one doesn’t want the world to know about something, then do not post it on Twitter. When you post a tweet you are putting your information into cyberspace, and once something is created you can never completely destroy it. It is easier now to spread information then it has ever been. If one wants to invite everybody to a party they can quickly send out an email, post a status, or put up a picture, and soon their entire group of friends would know about that party. The information travels so quickly that we get aggravated if our Internet page takes more than 2 seconds to load. This is what we are dealing with! Due to the ease of spreading electronic data, I was also not shocked when “confidential” data was leaked on WikiLeaks. There is always one person in every office that is willing to give up information for a small price. We see this in many industries. Today we download music CDs weeks before they even comes out, and that is only possible because somebody leaked it out. Leaking private information is nothing new, but due to today’s technology it spreads much quicker.


A Powerful Collection of Any and Everything…No Matter What!

The gathering of historical data is far easier now with the technology that we have.  Unless the digital era crashes or is destroyed in a way that computer technology can no longer exist.  Historians can obtain information without leaving their seats, in a matter of seconds.  No dusty books, that hopefully is in a readable condition.  No documents that can’t be preserved.   Information is sent quickly, gathered fast.  Making it easier to do research.

Reading the article on the archiving of every public tweet actually gave me chills.  We use the Internet for so many different things, that to know that the pictures posted on facebook are no longer yours or that google saves all your searches, and that a tweet stating that ” I’d sleep with my dentist, because he is so hot”, or “I can’t wait till I can eat a bunch of small animals for Thanksgiving”, is locked away somewhere is uncomfortable.  Some time capsule that is!  To imagine that, that’s going to be something that historians will use to study the era that I live in doesn’t sit well with me.  I really don’t want to be remembered that way.

Honestly, I have some major privacy concerns.  It’s one thing to collect data so that you can return to a certain time period, and discuss these historical evidences with the future generations, to better our world.  It’s another not to give people the choice to opt out or better yet, to ask if you can use their belongings.  Honestly, if I knew that Facebook was going to have the rights to my pictures, I would not have joined or posted any up.  Also, I don’t believe most of the entries from twitter should be saved, a lot of these things are just a waste of digital space.

" I know everything!

Where else the information of the wiki-leaks are so controversial, that the government is upset that these “confidential” documents were leaked. What makes them so special, or exempted from disclosure?  If “We the people” can’t keep small secrets or even pictures for ourselves, what makes it okay for “Our government” to keep large ones from us?  It has to be a balance.  I feel that the leaks were wrong, because they may have been obtained illegally, but it shows that all things are being collected in this large pool, whether anyone likes it or not.  That the internet is going to continue to provide the best and worst collection of information… no matter what!

We live in a world where the internet allows no doors to be closed because of it’s vast collection of human knowledge.  It would be nice to know that there is some privacy left.  That there are still some things that are not obtainable through the strokes of a few keys. Yet, I think those days are numbered."The Vast Collector"