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October 15, 2012

The Fragility of the Web

Do you remember what your first Facebook or Twitter profile page looked like? What was your avatar? Where you on MySpace when it was around? What was your first presence on the web at all, and is it still visible?
The answer to all these questions is probably 'NO'.

And if you do remember, you're not very likely to have any (visual) archive of it. The actual data you posted or shared might still be around. The Archive.org organization might have saved your site, but not all of it and definitely not your profile on a social network (or does it?).

Internet Archive Wayback Machine-1.jpg

The point is that the Internet is still very fragile, like for example the first pottery, so it's first manifestations are not likely to last. But it is part of your personal and our collective history. Something that is worth preserving.

Rhizome.org is focused on preserving digital art: "The mission of the ArtBase is to provide free, open, and permanent access to a living and historic collection of seminal new media art objects." They keep these works running, so you can actually still access and see them. Even after Windows update #300.001. But what about the rest (of us). Our trivial profile pages and updates provide a context to these works, and the times we live in.

So we have to take our digital preservation in our own hands by taking screenshots, writing down bookmarks and backing up (micro)blog entries and social media posts.

Couldn't be bothered? Imagine what cleaning out your old attic will feel like if you don't...

Posted by Almar at October 15, 2012 03:09 PM