I was recently reminded of a great presentation I watched, “All Our Yesterdays” by Jeremy Keith. In it, he talks about long-term challenges for preserving our cultural information online. The common perception is that once we post something on the Internet, it is there for good. Many times, this is not the case, though.
Because it seems to make intuitive sense to us to believe that the internet never forgets, then we neglect what we put there.— , All Our Yesterdays
There are some great third-party services that make it easy to create and interact online, but then you are at their mercy. Companies go out of business — or are bought and shut down — and the content disappears along with them. GeoCities was a prime example of this. It is a really interesting talk and I recommend watching it if you blog, tweet, or use the Internet in some fashion.
What reminded me of this presentation was Indie Web Camp, which is a movement of web creators to own their content, publish on their own domains, and syndicate out to third-party services. These services offer great social features because so many people use them, so the idea is not to avoid using them altogether. The idea is to maintain a canonical copy of what you create, then distribute copies elsewhere. In its simplest form, this means blogging at your own domain and not being yourname.company.com. They are also working on some interesting projects for distributing status updates (à la Twitter) and blog comments. I hope to get more involved with some of these, myself.
When I first got this domain name, one of the appeals was that I could install a CMS and have more control over my blogging experience. (The other appeal was setting up the wife application.) I was not putting much thought into whether my posts would still be online ten years later. As time has passed, I have had a growing appreciation for owning my content and being able to control the URL where it is shown. I recommend it; the tools to do so are getting easier and easier.