When content dies

When my content dies, I die with it. It bothers me endlessly, and of course it should as I’ve spent hours up on hours filling this domain of mine with what’s nearing to 200 posts. I’ll not be stopping it any time soon either, I’d like to think I’ll be around on this earth for the foreseeable future as I’ve got things to do. Since beginning writing on gavinelliott.co.uk in 2007, achieving 200 posts isn’t massive in the grand-scheme of things but it’s quality over quantity right?

I’d like to think I’ll be writing and sharing my content with you, the people who read it for a long long time, let’s just say for arguments sake until I’m at least 80. After all 80 is a good age, I could do a lot in the next 50 years and I’d like to somehow make or produce something that makes a difference. The death bit doesn’t bother me as much as long as I have everything personally in place before it happens then I’m cool with that.

But eventually when the time comes, and I’m not here to write or pay my hosting bill my content will go. It chills my bones to the very core. If out of the X amount of articles I’ve written, someone has been able to take points away and improve themselves or their work then the articles should stay online so someone in the next 80 years will be able to learn something.

Like a full to the brim personal diary that is kept under a pillow, I feel like that the content I’ve produced even though its virtual should have a resting place just like I will when I’m 80+. Web Archive doesn’t suffice really, who’s to say it will take active copies of my written articles in X amount of years. In this day and age is the only solution to print everything off and keep it in a box in the loft? You’ve got to be kidding me, that certainly hinders the public element to content distribution.

Nothing is safe, even the oldest library in the world could be the unfortunate recipient of a disappearing act. I know that my content one day could just disappear but it would make me feel a whole lot better if it was to be around for a little while after I was gone.

Please someone think of a way to secure written content online so it’s viewable well after the overdue hosting account notices drop in to the then non-existent email inbox because at the moment, when I go so will my content.

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Lead Interaction Designer at DigitalDWP. Organiser of Industry, The Practical Web Conference..

6 thoughts on “When content dies”

  1. Why not do an annual compilation – export the entries and publish via a service like Lulu.

    When our first son was born I created a blog to keep our family and friends – so many living so far away – informed of the latest developments.

    My dad printed it up into a book for his first birthday and it was a lovely and treasured keepsake of all those digital memories.

  2. Interesting idea Gav. I’ve never considered what would happen to all my content should I get hit by a bus or something.

    I suppose we’d need a service similar to the Momento iPhone app which keeps a backlog of all your online activity (including Tweets, check-ins, post to Flickr etc).

    Think you may have come up with a project well worth following up on 🙂

  3. Well I wasnt expecting that, interesting idea and a little depressing.

    As generations of the internet age get older and older I think the points you have highlighted are valuable ones.

    Good post, Phil.

  4. I find it quite spooky; just imagine on the ghost blogs out there on free services unused because someone died :-/ I think home insurance should incorporate a person’s content, or some sort of insurance coverage.

  5. Doing an export wouldn’t solve the problem, and neither would republishing the information to another service. This is because all services suffer from the same issue that unless there is a maintainer of the data it can be let go.

    There is another issue, which follows something that Brian Suda mentions in his latest book in that the medium itself suffers the same risks as any other recording device in that it could be superseded at any point in the future meaning that in order to access your content at that time would require a legacy device with the capability of reading html for example.

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