The Library of Congress is saving and archiving every tweet sent on the social network Twitter. I heard this a while back, and I just kinda thought, “Huh.” I started considering that recently, so I did a little Googling. According to this article from TIME, the archiving started in 2010. Twitter was founded in March 2006, so, by the time they started archiving, 21 billion tweets had already been sent. Just for a better visual, that’s 21,000,000,000. In 2008, there were 125 million tweets being created per day. When Twitter filed for their IPO in October of 2013, it disclosed that there are “more than 200 million monthly active users who tweet 500 million tweets per day.” As of February, 2013 (when the TIME article was written), the Library of Congress had archived 170 billion tweets with a daily growth of 500 million. So, from the time that article was written until now, 225 billion tweets have been sent. Let’s say that a quarter of those were public (probably a low estimate), and we have 56,250,000,000 tweets that have been added to that 170 billion. 226,250,000,000. And counting. This is mind-boggling to me.
I had a post almost complete in my head about how everybody thinks they have something to say. No, the irony of stating this in a blog post is not lost on me. Somehow, I thought the irony would work in my favor. And it might; who knows? My original plan was to go off about how everybody needs to shut up and listen. How we’re all full of ourselves and think we’re right and if you don’t like it that’s fine but I’m still right and you’re still wrong. It’s easy to look at a number like 200 million active Twitter users and see a bunch of idiots who are sending selfies, stupid comments, useless information about themselves and feedback on the same. WHO CARES!?!?!?!? I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU!!!!!
Wait. Whoa. What did I just say? Seriously?
Do I think people should talk less and listen more? Yes. Do I think it’s a waste of resources to store every single tweet, from Anthony Weiner’s weiner to President Obama’s post-election thanks to the voters to my neighbor telling his buddies where to meet him for a beer, in the Library of Congress? Maybe; not sure on that yet. Are there people behind those 140-character snippets? Definitely.
So this post isn’t really about Twitter and my self-righteous judgement of it and its users. I sat down to write one thing, and now it’s something different. I’m gonna run with it.
Jesus wasn’t able to interact personally with everyone in the crowd of 5,000. Nor was He able to do so with the crowd of 4,000. Nor could he with the crowd on Palm Sunday. Same thing on the day He was crucified. There was always a crowd around Jesus, and, in His human form, He couldn’t interact personally with all of them. But He loved all of them. He loved every person in the crowd of 5,000 as a person. He didn’t see a jumbled mass of screwed up humanity. He looked at the crowd and saw individual people with stories and wounds and histories. He saw them, saw their circumstances, saw their need, and He fed them. He saw people. Wherever Jesus went, He saw people, and He loved them.