For my archive project, I felt that what I needed to do was address terms and what their definitions are; and, more interestingly, their popularity over time.
So the term ‘archive’ has been used more commonly after 1900 and exponentially since the 1960s. However, whether this result correlates to internet or written mentions, I’m not sure; but I can make assumptions… Nevertheless, it is clearly not a really new term as it has had some prevalence during the 20th Century.
Since 2009, Twitter used the # key as a form of metablogging and grouping tweets so that there are wider conversations for users to interact and watch. It is clear that social media has had a tremendous impact on hashtagging. A relatively new phenomena which users use to gain more followers with popular topic for example #yolo. Although we are all consumers of this form of message sharing, little do many know that what we are also doing it archiving individual pieces of evidence into categories. Nevertheless, as hashtags purpose isn’t first and foremost to archive, it therefore means that the sheer abundance means that there is almost ‘too much data’ to sort: on Twitter if you search a hashtag (ie Yolo) there is not any indication of how many mentions there has been on Twitter. Therefore, the archive only really survives for the first page of results: the rest is lost in the fluidity of social media. You can track hashtags from the present on, but not track back:
Therefore, how can we use social media (Twitter) as a good way to document social history of the web and its users? That’s if someone wanted to look at social media archiving. With millions of users, it would make it seem that there is endless data and whether any of the data is related to the hashtag, or whether it is a social trend to hashtag in order to get more viewership. Take Instagram. Here is a screen shot from the App on Thursday 7th November 1pm of #Yolo (you only live once) and it is full of ‘selfies’. Do self portraits really count as ‘you only live once’. Arguably not. However, with Instagram there is a result which suggests how many mentions of the hashtag there has been. 14,132,177 is a HUGE amount of data for a hashtag that has only been really popular in 2013. To then cross link that with other data would be a very difficult task.
So since we can attach data to files in a hidden ways (metadata) this means that we can search ‘yolo’ with ‘drunk’ and would narrow down the search (probably marginally). Nevertheless, this is a good online tool we can use to link data. However, users of social media aren’t aware of their behaviour with hashtags in this sense. Physical archives such as the Mining Institute in Newcastle saved and stored material for purposes of the future: that it was important information. However, the digital attitude to logging data has changed less for the future and more for current hashtagging trends. Do we care about the #olympic2012 anymore on Twitter? Not so much. Today it is more about interaction than storing, logging etc.
It is this issue that needs to be addressed in digitising physical archives and digital archives. They need to be appropriate and FORWARD thinking and not just being consumed in a similar way to social media. The logging must not be a fad, but consistent so that is easily accessible.
0 thoughts on “Define :”
This is an important topic to consider – and congratulations on tackling this topic in your research. As an archiver for business – specifically – social media archiving – there are many facets to consider in what to do or how to extract value now and historically from social data. Obviously one of the challenges is more noise unlike archiving letters, memorandum and other written material in the course of communicating in the past.
Also add in the concept of forgetting – or for a good read on the topic of what should be saved versus deleted – see http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8981.html – Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger.
The challenge in archiving is the multiple needs for archiving. First is certainly from a historic capacity – saving what we communicate to later determine what is (insert term here) profound/important/revealing et al. The logic of an archiving process has to be able to carve out the meaningless clutter to be able to surface through search and analysis those data to be tagged for safekeeping.
Much of the value in underlying archives can also be missed at first glance as often business are pursuing the process of archiving for regulatory or other governance needs – not necessarily taking the time to evaluate or classify data to be reviewed.
It is a challenging but very important field – I hope to see more emphasis on research in this area.