Important Pieces Of Social Media Are Disappearing

Posted Sep 20, 2012

After communicating through social media an uprise started taking place in Egypt on January 25, 2011.  The Egyptian president, known for being a brutal dictator, was overthrown and truly free elections took his place.  The protests that were organized and news that was spread took place through social media and since then a lot of the content related to major events started being curated.  Technology Review is reporting that Hany SalahEldeen and Michael Nelson at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia decided to do some research to find out how much social media is found on the web.

They found that a major proportion of the websites have lost archived content related to social media around major events.  This includes the H1N1 virus outbreak, the Syrian uprising, and Michael Jackson’s death.  Social media is disappearing.

SalahEldeen and Nelson looked for tweets around major events that took place between June 2009 and March 2010 and then they filtered the URLs that those tweets pointed to and check to see whether the content was still on the Internet in an archived form.  The older the social media, the more likely it would be missing.  Around 11% of the social media content disappeared within a year and 27% within 2 years.  SalahEldeen and Nelson said that the world loses around 0.02% of culturally significant social media material every day.