Someone on Twitter was talking about how to celebrate a big Tweet number- 25,000 tweets. Some people have chosen to try to raise money for their momentous tweet, but what struck me was what might have been said in those 25,000 tweets. Does that equal a novel? A Book? Since Tweets, for most purposes, disappear after about two weeks (1) much of the content created is history.
This made me think about the longevity of digital media. Some things, like blogs and podcasts, are more durable. This information is stored not only on your website and servers, but by others, including the Internet Wayback Machine. Twitter, and to a certain extent, Facebook, relies more on real-time day to day content, rather than provide any sort of long term search-ability or archiving. Yet with more and more people sharing news items on Twitter, communicating with customers and the like, how much of this information will continue to exist in the future? What becomes “evidence” could be saved for later on, whether its for journalists researching a story, hisotrians, or even laywers? Would this stuff be admissible in a Court of Law? I’m not sure whether or not we know the answer to any of these questions yet.
For me, I often share information and links on Facebook, sometimes for me, sometimes for friends. I’ve opted to share many things through Delicious, and to Facebook through Friendfeed. This means I have a tagged list of blog posts and articles, creating my own clip file, my own library and encyclopedia that grows over time. But if I only tagged this stuff and shared it out through Twitter, it would likely be gone.
How much of what you are creating online is meant to have a lifespan? How long to you want to be held responsible for opinions, tweets, snarky comments, etc.? How much is intended to be in the moment alone?
A case in point is the LD Podcast. I have had the show on hiatus, and I’m working hard to put it back into production in the near future, spurned on by recent emails from a number of sources who are discovering the content for the first time. I’m realizing that the content I create has a lifespan far longer than my attention span, and it continues to provide value to others, long after I have taken it for granted.
I hope this provides a little food for thought- Where are you putting your digital media energies? What’s providing the most real time versus long tail value? And, what can you do to create both?
Most of all, don’t forget that sometimes, creating content with longevity might actually create the most long term value.
(1) unless they have been stored, archived or otherwise placed in different formats…