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Social Media To Enter The National Archives

The future of tweets at The National Archives

In a step that cements social media into our everyday lives, The National Archives is to catalogue some of the social media output of UK central governments. YouTube videos as well as tweets will hold a place alongside certain documents, and this move proves that social media can provide some of the most important moments in modern history due to its connectivity and networking possibilities.


Many posts will be archived, such as events like the birth of Prince George and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. These moments have already been recorded to create snapshots online. To begin, The National Archives will hold various tweets and videos published by the Government, and this will bring their collection to over 11 million historical, political and public records into the 21st century.

There are over 7,000 YouTube videos and over 65,000 individual tweets on the new online social media archive. These are all from UK central government departments currently on Twitter and YouTube, and this shows just how the ruling bodies of society rely on social media in today’s world. Many other governments and candidates are starting to take note of the impact, and a recent example of this was the social media sparring in India between two candidates.

The aim of the archive was to permanently preserve the content as official public record.  As well as the Royal events that were preserved, there were others including the London 2012 Olympic Games and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon last summer. 

Interim Chief Executive and Keeper of The National Archives, Clem Brohier, said “social media now plays an important part in government communications with departments using Twitter to clarify policy and YouTube to Promote initiatives.” He then went on to say: “This was no small task but we rose to the challenge. It is an exciting step for archives and history; with present and future generations being able to view tweets to understand events in history, just like we do with historic telegrams today.”


Echoing the words of Brohier, this was indeed no small task, as since 2003, over three billion items published online by the UK Government have been archived by The National Archives as part of the UK Government web archive. These include web pages, interactive games, and documents. This is set to grow enormously with the inclusion of social media.

The importance of social media is now known worldwide, and the ruling bodies around the world have had to adapt in order to connect with the general public in the easiest and most contemporary way possible. The world is currently shifting into a digital age, and this has been shown by The National Archives, who have held the content online in such regard that they have made huge efforts to preserve it.

It is a time of transition for businesses, governments and the autonomous individual, and adapting to a world dictated by online forces is a requirement now, and governments are in on the act. What they are doing online is aggressive marketing on a grand scale, and this is what it takes to win elections these days. If you can strike a nerve with the online community, there is a likelihood of success. This is both an impressive and sad state, as on one hand, you can hit a nerve just by being on a keyboard, but it also discourages active promotion, and achievements in the physical body.

It won’t change now; social media has won the battle between the real world and the networking universe.

Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Social Media To Enter The National Archives Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, May 12, 2014 Rating: 5
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