The Library of Congress and the Adaptation (and Preservation) of Twitter

library-of-congress-logoThe Library of Congress is known to be the second most popular library on social media with over 711k followers on it’s Twitter page since June 2007. Based out of Washington DC, they use the title of being the largest library in the world with a grand collection of over 16 million books in 400 different languages. Since The Library of Congress is known for their archival work, they have decided to adopt a new form of archival, social media. According to Business Insider, The Library of Congress will be gathering over 130,000 gigabytes worth of tweets off of Twitter as a way to “Collect the story of America, and to acquire collections that will have research value,” as told by Gayle Osterberg, who is the communications director at The Library of Congress.
It is estimated that over 400,000,000 tweets are composed by Americans alone every day. Though they are only minimal notes, the library believes that piece by piece, this digital archive will one day paint a bigger and grander picture. The catch is that there will be no Tweets gathered from ones that have been deleted, but still over 150 billion tweets altogether is a mighty large number to work with.
Besides trying to archive the entire universe of Twitter, the Library of Congress uses the website as a way to connect the users to their physical collection and rotating exhibits. Their Twitter page produces around one up to ten postings a day, many also discussing important historical dates and acquisitions to the library. This creates an impact to the average Twitter user because as most people on Twitter follows sports and celebrities, The Library of Congress are the ones who collect, catalog, and display these popular trends and people throughout American history.
In comparison to the New York Public Library, they use social media as a digital exhibit, and not so big on constantly promoting their events. The Library of Congress surprisingly, the Library of Congress does not use the social media outlet Instagram, which is odd that they are the second most popular library on Twitter, but has no presence to display their collection visually. Though NYPL is the king library at social media, Boston Public Library and San Francisco Public Library have adapted to Instagram as a way to share their collection of historical artifacts and photography. Both Boston and San Francisco have well over 3,000 followers and customize their own hashtags like #SFpublicLibrary.
The adaptation of Instagram for many popular libraries tells a story through what is going on today, and what to look forward tomorrow. Social media within libraries does serve as an outstanding way to give free publicity and how a library works. Though one library, such as the Library of Congress chooses Twitter over Instagram, and San Francisco is vice-versa, this brings the uniqueness of how each library reaches out to it’s patrons digitally as a welcome to join the festivities.

Five ways libraries are using Instagram to share collections and draw public interest. (Impact of Social Sciences)
Library of Congress Is Archiving All Of America’s Tweets (Business Insider)


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