As social media forefronts our high traffic communication vehicles, we have at last found a way to forever capture the sentiment of our times. Historians of the future will undoubtedly have their work cut out for them as they sift through the plethora of blogs, tweets, statuses, and even the near extinct old-school articles written by our generation. I personally do not use Twitter, so when I read “Archiving Tweets” by Lauren, that was actually the first time I had heard that the government was going to keep record of the posts by what I like to call Twitter Twitnits (in all fairness, I may end up being converted into a Twitnit myself if I decide to finally jump on the bandwagon). However, I cannot say that I am surprised. Similarly, Google archives all our search queries, just as Facebook allows advertisers your personal specs to target a precise market. Even the government uses data systems to archive documents (although so-called governmental security was obviously not enough to thwart WikiLeaks). With all the information available out there due to our Internet age, prospective researchers can actually peek in on every level of our society, from personal blogs all the way to federal government issued reports. Historians will check up on personal accounts of youth alcohol and drug use (ex: “Yooo, got so wasted last night!”), relationship woes (ex: “Much better off without that lame cheating loser”), and amazingly, internal government docs that provides true first-hand info without being so watered down by standard regulated media.
Just as hieroglyphics told us tales of Egyptian dynasties past, and civil war diaries expressed the struggles of our country, social networking sites provide powerful tools at our disposal to publish our own life experiences. The difference between our present use of social networking sites and past diaries and journals, is that we are in a state of quasi private/public expression; historians can get a firmer grasp of what exactly is on our generation’s minds. They can use it to predict future trends of thought, possible reactions to projected current events, and even just to see the social foundations upon which new generations will be built.