Large-scale efforts have begun to capture Twitter history before its gone

Originally published at: Large-scale efforts have begun to capture Twitter history before its gone | Boing Boing


Well. Glad they have their priorities straight… /s

But seriously, yes, the political uses of twitter matter, 100%. I don’t think it needs to be either/or with regards to preserving this history. The meme stuff matters too. It still captures a social moment in time that will help people in the future understand what it was like to live during this time period. It’s really something that we lack in many other historical periods. But of course, due to the “go fast, break shit” model of capitalism that is indicative of the tech industry and especially social media companies, few people made any efforts to think about preservation. The assumption was that “they would live on forever on the interwebz” but frankly, that’s always been bullshit. Preservation is an active process that requires people to back shit up, outside of the corporate structure - or at the very least in a way that is going to ensure it survives whatever happens to the company. This is yet ANOTHER thing corporations suck at, because they care about the bottom line, not human history.


I’m reminded of this episode from 99% Invisible, which documents the rescue and preservation of GeoCities by its users after its owners shut down. If Musk destroys the platform one way or another, it’s highly doubtful he’ll put in the money and resources to preserve its archive. Indeed, I can easily see him blocking these efforts or deliberately torching or locking away the database if things go belly-up.


Gawker had hosted numerous commenter blogs on the kinja and pre-kinja platforms, which translated to communities of hundreds of users, but when Gawker was eventually sold to G/O Media, those sites were abruptly shut down. They had been told that they would have a couple of days to back up material to other sites, but in what seems to have been a move motivated by spite, they were shut down a few hours after the initial notice. There were some really insightful pieces that are now lost forever. There had been some rumblings in the past, so at least the communities were able to reconstitute on other platforms, which is an interesting phenomenon in and of itself; the longevity and cohesiveness of online communities.


Thanks Peter Thiel… /s

But yeah, people forget that preservation takes effort. This is as true online as it is in the physical world. I live in a city known for tearing down the past to build the future, and tons has been lost as a result. This is yet another major shortcoming of corporcentric, neo-liberal economy. They don’t give a shit about “preserving history” because it’s not profitable. But so many people have bought the BS that the markets are best for everything, that it’s going to be difficult to extract ourselves out of that.


Yeah, Gawker was deeply flawed, but hosting the commenter communities was one thing that it did right, although even the commenter communities had their issues; more than 2 people and politics and all that, but there was significant support too; I remember one time that someone in Houston was thinking of self-harming (the crisis hotline put them on hold!) and it turned out that someone in London stayed online with them until they could contact their doctor the next morning.


A fitting sad end to something that brought harm to others.

As a side note— @BakerB recently started a conversation about that over here:


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