Preservation Intent: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is more than just a collection of YouTube videos, it reaches far and wide across the Internet. The creators behind the Lizzie Bennet Diaries utilized social media as a way for the characters to be relatable and approachable. Each character has a least a Twitter account, to “talk” to each other, and other accounts that best fit the individual character. For instance, the main character Lizzie Bennet has a Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Google+. However, some characters have Pinterest, Linkedin, or if the character was never on camera then they would not have any social media. While the videos may have all been prerecorded, the social media all happened in real time coinciding with the videos upload.

What to Preserve?

SDofLBDCover-392x600lizzie-bennet-diaries-dvd-setDeciding what to preserve for this work is challenging because there are many different options. There is the obvious choice for the videos themselves, and the subsequent comment threads. However, seeing as how the videos have been uploaded to YouTube, and are accessible in various formats, this would not be the best option. Because of the success, the producers of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, have put the videos into DVD format. The videos are also accessible through the production company’s website. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and there is even a companion book that was published for the videos. By having all of these formats it is safe to say that the story will be properly preserved. While the comment section on each video is important, there was not as much interaction, as with the social media accounts.

The focus of this preservation will be the social media accounts for five of the main characters: Lizzie Bennet, Jane Bennet, Lydia Bennet, William Darcy, and Bing Lee. On the producer’s website, there are Storify pages for each character’s social media posts in chronological order. However, the Storify pages only record the posts from the characters, and not their interactions outside of the other characters. The goal here is to capture not only the character’s posts and interactions with each other, but also with the general public/audience. This will require recording each Twitter account for the main characters, and any subsequent social media accounts. The recordings will record the character’s posts and replies, as well as any public comments made by non-characters. What will not be recorded is the general public’s entire account. The purpose is to record the interactions between the audience and story. One of the beneficial aspects to preserving social media that is four years old is that, for the most part, it has remained static. While the accounts are still live, they are no longer active.

Preservation Options

When doing a social media preservation, there are a few different options that can be applied. The first, and most obvious, is to utilize the Internet Archive. By using their web crawler, it will collect snapshots of what the social media accounts hold, information wise. The point of the preservation is to collect the interactions between the characters and the audience. The web crawler is not a perfect system and may even collect tangent information, not pertinent to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

The next option is to use social media preservation tools, that are specifically designed for social media websites and individual accounts. ArchiveSocial_ScreenshotFor instance, ArchiveSocial, which accesses the accounts you want to preserve on various social media sites. This tool is able to capture the original tweets, replies, and preserve the original interactions in a “normal” looking view. ArchiveSocial is able to keep the integrity of the visual appeal of each social media site, so it will look similar to when it was first happening.

The last option is to download all of the social media accounts, and information, and store it all on thumb drives or SD cards. This is a good choice for needed a backup in case the social media sites ever disappear.

The Plan: For The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I will use a combination of ArchiveSocial and the separate backup.

First, I will download the information for the Twitter, Facebook, and other related social media accounts for the main 5 characters. These downloads will be stored on thumb drives and SD cards to be made accessible at a later time.

Next, I will utilize Archive Social for the Twitter, Facebook, and related social media accounts for Lizzie, Jane, Lydia, Bing, and Darcy. The only problem is ArchiveSocial does not support Tumblr at this time. So for only the two Tumblr accounts, I will use Internet Archive. This works in my favor better, because for Tumblr I only want to capture the posts themselves and the “notes” on each one. Similarly, with Twitter, I do not want to collect each public users account information, only that which is related to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

The intent of this preservation is to emphasize the interactions between the story/characters and the users/audience. The videos have already had the steps taken to be properly preserved. The social media, and the fans of the videos however, have not had the chance to take their spot in history.

3 Replies to “Preservation Intent: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”

  1. I love the ArchiveSocial tool! I’d never seen that before, but it seems like an excellent option for so many of the projects we’re undertaking.

    Has there been a lot of media coverage on the Lizzie Bennet Diaries? If so, did you think about saving any of that to place the social media conversations in context, or is that WAY too much to grab at one time?

  2. I like your choice to focus on social media interactions, a nice way to de-emphasize the product line side of this project.

    Do you have any sense of whether people still interact with the characters on Twitter or elsewhere? Old tweets/posts can resurface for whatever reason, and maybe there’s a fan-fiction element to keep the interaction going.

  3. Focusing on the social media as opposed to the videos is a neat choice. If I follow, you are suggesting that we have every reason to believe that the videos are going to be around given that they have been marketed and distributed in multiple ways. Given that, it makes sense to focus on the various social media presences of the characters and stories. Kudos on exploring and finding some tools that you can work with to accomplish this. Given that you are focused on the interactions between the story’s characters and their audience, I’m also curious if there are other kinds of materials you might want to collect too. That is, would it make sense to try and find discussions of the show on web forums or on Reddit? Similarly, is there much in the form of reaction videos and such that might be collected?

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