I’ve already proposed one session, but recent events in Iran and the various discussions of the role of social media tools in those events prompted this post.
I propose that we have a session where THATCampers discuss the issues related to preserving (and/or analyzing) the blogs, tweets, images, Facebook postings, SMS(?) of the events in Iran with an eye toward a process for how future such events might be archived and analyzed as well. How will future historians/political scientists/geographers/humanists write the history of these events without some kind of system of preservation of these digital materials? What should be kept? How realistic is it to collect and preserve such items from so many different sources? Who should preserve these digital artifacts (Twitter/Google/Flickr/Facebook; LOC; Internet Archive; professional disciplinary organizations like the AHA)?
On the analysis side, how might we depict the events (or at least the social media response to them) through a variety of timelines/charts/graphs/word-clouds/maps? What value might we get from following/charting the spread of particular pieces of information? Of false information? How might we determine reliable/unreliable sources in the massive scope of contributions?
[I know there are many potential issues here, including language differences, privacy of individual communications, protection of individual identities, various technical limitations, and many others.]
Maybe I’m overestimating (or underthinking) here, but I’d hope that a particularly productive session might even come up with the foundations of: a plan, a grant proposal, a set of archival standards, a wish-list of tools, even an appeal to larger companies/organizations/governmental bodies to preserve the materials for this particular set of events and a process for archiving future ones.
What do people think? Is this idea worth a session this weekend?
UPDATE: Ok, if I’d read the most recent THATCamp proposals, I’d have seen that Nicholas already proposed a similar session and I could have just added my comment to his….. So, we have two people interested in the topic. Who else?