Jason Cochran

Stuff you never knew you never knew

A few weeks ago, the Library of Congress announced that it would be archiving every public tweet ever sent on Twitter. So I thought it would be a fun idea to head down to Washington, DC, and find out exactly where all those tweets would indeed be living, and why such an esteemed archival entity would want to collect the murmurings of our waking online dreams.

A horrifying thing happened when we were shooting this. You can see the opening and closing shots of the video, in which I’m outside the Madison Building. Well, after we were finished with our shoot, my camerawoman and I collected ourselves on the lovely benches out front, where government workers eat their bag lunches and suck down nicotine. Then we headed down Pennsylvania Avenue to grab a beer at a watering hole and talk to some young, beer-buzzed Capitol Hillers about Twitter.

About 20 minutes later, the PR rep who appears in this video called me. Now it was his voice that was a-twitter.

“Jason, you didn’t happen to leave anything behind, did you?”

Nope, I said. Not me. I have everything. I asked my camerawoman, too, just to make sure.

Her face fell. Yes, she said. She suddenly realized we didn’t have the black ripstop bag containing our tripod.

“Oh, hang on. Yeah, my camerawoman did. She’ll be right back to grab it. Thanks!”

The PR rep was stern. “I’ll tell the police. There’s a bomb scare.”

The LoC, you may know, is on Capitol Hill. In fact, it’s directly across the street from the Capitol. And when the tripod bag fell behind the bench we were using, she missed it, but the intensely zealous Capitol Police didn’t. There were barriers in the street, stonefaced cops in bomb gear, and a lockdown of the entire Library at an hour when everyone wanted to go home. All over our forgotten bag.

What can I say about my crew? We’re a federal menace.

My camerawoman was detained for nearly an hour while they took down her information. “Happens all the time,” the cop told her.

All so we could bring this video to you. Please be grateful. Please laugh.

Categorised in: Blog, Video

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2 comments. Add a Comment:

  1. […] to get ahold of our impermanent artifacts is why, last year, the Library of Congress acquired all the public tweets ever sent. The chatterboxes of the bloggerati scoffed, but in fact, the staff there is concerned […]

  2. […] Twitter is an opportunity to spread our shared history before it’s lost. It’s a digital version of an oral tradition. That’s why the Library of Congress is preserving every public tweet sent. (I went to the bowels of the Madison building, where they’re kept, and I made a video of the visit.) […]

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