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Breaking: OMG! Library of Congress acquires every Tweet ever Twittered


Breaking: OMG WTH @LibraryCongress sez its acquired evry Tweet evr sent. Will store every 1! 50mil/day. B careful what u say now. Its 4evr

RT that!

Do we need 2 keep all these Tweets? What u-no-who had 4 bfast, when whos-its goes zzzzz. Who was ROFLMAO!!

OTOH, don't forget, there's Tweet history including the 1st prez victry Tweet evr by 1st blk prez evr. And who knows what indiscreet Tweet Twittered recently will come back to haunt a future presidential candidate?

Twitter execs said this week the network now has 105 million registered users and is adding 300,000 new ones every day.

Despite its reputation among non-users for useless blather, Twitter also often contains pearls of shared wisdom. Such as:

A stationary stone kills the grass beneath.


A rolling stone gathers momentum and can really hurt.

Other Twitter fans use it to acquire urgent personal information like this afternoon's open query about how long nipple-piercing pain lasts. That's one to puzzle social historians in 100 years.

There are literally billions of Tweets already in existence since the social network began in March of 2006. How will they ever find enough drawer space to store them all?

As Matt Raymond, the Library's official blogger, notes, the precious national library resource has been about more than books for a long while already. It's been gathering online stuff ever since ever since.

Matt says:

The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000. Today we hold more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office, and websites of Members of Congress.

And don't forget, as The Ticket noted here recently, now C-SPAN has archived every program online, searchable, since 1987.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Speaking of Twitter, read history in the making; DM us and go into the Library of Congress too. Click here for Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. You can also go to our new Facebook fan page here.

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This ain't what I signed up for. Bye bye Twitter.

Most people think Twitter has only been around since 2006. Of course, they're the same people that think Richard Gere invented Buddhism, right after Madonna created yoga.

Twitter has always been -- we have the tweets to prove it -- and now the Library of Congress has them all, too.

Tweets like:

Honest_Abe: Anyone got a more creative way of saying “87 years?”

Alexandr: Accomplishments just earned me title “Alexander the Good.” Must work harder.

Lewis: @Clark have u seen this? ugh. last six months, wasted.

Joan_of_Arc: Left sunscreen at home. OMG, will never be burned worse than I am now.

JohannesG: Finally finished invention. Disappointed to learn that no one can read.

These are just a sample from, and in the upcoming book Historical Tweets: The Completely Unabridged and Ridiculously Brief History of the World, hitting bookshelves around the U.S. and Canada in two weeks.

The book features tweets from the likes of Gandhi, Magellan, Elvis, the Vikings, Plato, Hitler, Jesus, cavemen, and more.


With the Library of Congress and posterity in mind, I tweeted today about what a gosh darned wonderful, well-rounded, erudite fellow I am.

I'm not sure I look forward to the day when the Library of Congress has to expand its building to house another weekly dosage of 178 billion OMGs, ROTFLMAOs, and WTFs. But wait - maybe they can re-translate all the books, speeches and other documents currently in the LOC, 451 th bks, & put ppl n the LOC 2 lrn hw 2 spk wo vwls. LOC k b a grg w CPs. OTOH...

Next to be archived: all the pictures of Myspace users in their underwear.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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