I personally do not use Twitter, nor do I consider 140-character tweets to be a good contribution to national media discourse. It promotes even shorter sound bites and higher frequency debate that doesn't help our country. However, the fact that I'm so averse to Twitter only goes to show the place it's taken in our communications. It's used constantly by leaders and politicians, and plays into political debates and news that dictate our course. It has become a part of our history and should be recorded as such.
I feel that it would be an invasion of privacy if congress had access to all our personal tweets. If a case came up where they needed to access a post on Twitter, it would be available online anyway.
The U.S. Congress should not be keeping a record of all the tweets at the Twitter website. It simply is not their business to monitor what is going on at Twitter. Plus, in a few years the information will be totally meaningless. Imagine if Congress had decided to monitor a social website such as Friendster or MySpace back when they were popular; what a complete waste of time that would have been in retrospect.
I think that Congress has the right to keep a digital archive of every public tweet from Twitter. I wouldn't say this is the best use of time or resources, but it may be useful many years from now, for historical purposes, or for legal reasons. Anyone on Twitter should understand that it's a public forum and may be recorded. The records could be used for various reasons in the future, so I don't think it hurts to have everything tracked.
Stupid waste of resources.
The U.S. government has no right to monitor or archive our Tweets, Facebook, phone conversations, or anything else. National security should never take away from the rights of the citizens. Terrorism has been, and always will be, an issue in this country, and in others. But, is giving up our security really worth the loss of our basic freedoms? People should be revolting in the streets, instead of sitting idly by, watching the freedoms so many brave men and women have died to protect being taken from us.
Speaking in a public form is free game for anyone to take record of, however, when it comes to the government keeping the record, people should have the right to know this is occurring. Further more it should be disclosed why they are collecting this information and how it will be used.
Monitoring and archiving tweets is in direct opposition to the First Amendment of the United States, which states, in part, that "freedom of speech should not be abridged". By archiving tweets, the government would effectively diminish one area of spirited public debate, a cornerstone of the American democracy. Any intrusion into free speech marks the beginning of a police state.
Twitter is an interesting social phenomenon, however, I don't believe Congress is the entity that should be in charge of archiving it. There are plenty of other means of archiving and storing Twitter tweets, both public and private. Congress needs to focus on their job, which is passing and debating legislation pertinent to the best interests of the country.
Congress has more pressing functions than archiving tweets. While there is certainly some future interest in historical tweets, private actors could do this job as well or better than Congress. Further, although the tweets are public, many users post tweets expecting them to be semi-private because they are not important enough to attract attention. Digital archiving likely entails public access now or in the future, which is something users likely do not contemplate when posting.
I do not believe Congress should keep an archive of every public Tweet from Twitter because it imposes on basic privacy and the right to free speech of people. For the most part, Tweets are not something we have to worry about in terms of public safety or national security. Then there are the costs of this function, which our nation can hardly afford during the current economy.
While it may be possible to store them, the sheer volume would make them an inexhaustible resource which could not be sorted, organized or retrieved within any real-time manner. There are millions of tweets every single day, in hundreds of languages, and it is not conceivable that congress can organize and archive them all so that they can be retrieved in any type of on-demand process. While, conceptually, they may think it is a good idea to track this information, I think those who may wish to do so do not fully comprehend the volume of information they are wishing to store, let alone how they intend to attempt retrieval and use this information.
There is no reason why the government should put any effort into archiving tweets. Twitter is just another form of social networking, and the government has nothing to do with it. It doesn't make any sense for the government to be interested in keeping track of tweets, any more than comments on blogs or forum websites. The government has more important things to do.
I believe that every individual should be able to communicate and receive such. Having a digital record of all tweets will amount to infringing on the people's rights to interact.
There is also the issue of people have innocent conservations and using what the government regards as keywords. Such persons can get arrested for having genuine conversations.