I love Twitter, and I rely on it for the work I do – as a journalist, a writer, a learner, a community member.
But the more I recognize its importance, the more I worry about its archives and access.
Late last week, I took to Twitter to rant about Twitter – specifically, my inability to access all the tweets from the #ISTE12 hashtag (due to rate limits on the Twitter Search API or alternatively due to the price of buying the tweets from one of the official Twitter resellers.)
Thankfully, I’m not the only interested party out there. Others were able to capture the tweets, call the API, pull together the data, and do useful things with them.
This week in People v Harris, a New York criminal court decided that a Twitter user (and Twitter) could not contest a government subpeona to hand over data. The case involved Occupy Wall Street protestor Malcolm Harris, a disorderly conduct arrest, and the state’s claim that his Twitter data – his tweets, his location, and so on – must be handed over. The judge decreed that Harris had no reasonable expectation of privacy since his tweets were public.
In a really cruel twist of fate, I’m cited in the decision for my interview with the Library of Congress (which I’d like to point out still isn’t ready to let scholars research the Twitter archive).
Do you have a copy of all your tweets?
This summer, I’m learning statistics, Google Fusion Tables, Gephi, PHP. Strangely enough almost all the projects I'm working on involve Twitter data.