Seven years ago, the Library Of Congress announced that it had begun to archive every single public tweet, believing that the collection would have some kind of value to future generations. Now, though, the Library Of Congress has finally realized what we all could have told it back in 2010: The project was an enormous waste of time. As reported by NPR, the institution will begin to archive tweets “on a very selective basis” beginning in 2018, suggesting that only the raddest memes, deadliest ratios, and most tortured William Carlos Williams gags will be saved for posterity.
The Library Of Congress has given a few explanations for this decision, mostly stemming from the fact that Twitter has become less important and interesting than it seemed just a few years ago—when people were still marveling at its humanitarian uses instead of trying to hold back the endless wave of vomit it inspires now. There are a lot more tweets being posted every hour these days, many of which are stupid, and the increased character count means there’s sometimes twice as much data to collect. On top of that, Twitter only gives the Library Of Congress the text portions of tweets, meaning any images, videos, or links are left out. Because of that, there are no cat photos, no links to your Kickstarter, and no autoplaying videos that you can’t scroll past fast enough, limiting just how useful the existing archive even is.
Still, someone will eventually be able to read every tweet from the service’s creation to the election of Donald Trump, which is probably to going to have some historical significance if we don’t all get eradicated because of something he tweets.