Considering the average website is less than ten years old, that old warning from your parents that says to “be careful what you post online because it’ll be there forever” is like the story your dad told you about chocolate milk coming from brown cows, a well-meant farce. On the contrary, librarians and archivists have implored us for years to be wary of the impermanence of digital media; when a website, especially one that invites mass participation, goes offline or executes a huge dump of its data and resources, it’s as if a smallish Library of Alexandria has been burned to the ground. Except unlike the burning of such a library, when a website folds, the ensuing commentary from tech blogs asks only why the company folded, or why a startup wasn’t profitable. Ignored is the scope and species of the lost material, or what it might have meant to the scant few who are left to salvage the digital wreck.
Saturday, May 27th, 2023
Wednesday, April 27th, 2022
Twitter’s only conclusion can be abandonment: an overdue MySpace-ification. I am totally confident about this prediction, but that’s an easy confidence, because in the long run, we’re all MySpace-ified.
What Robin said.
Monday, November 15th, 2021
The internet, it turns out, is not forever. It’s on more of like a 10-year cycle. It’s constantly upgrading and migrating in ways that are incompatible with past content, leaving broken links and error pages in its wake. In other instances, the sites simply shutter, or become so layered over that finding your own footprint is impossible—I have searched “Kate Lindsay Myspace” every which way and have concluded that my content from that platform must simply be lost to time, ingested by the Shai-Hulud of the internet.
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
A terrific—and fun!—talk from Zach about site deaths, owning your own content, and the indie web.
Oh, and he really did create MySpaceBook for the talk.
Sunday, September 1st, 2019
Ignore the clickbaity headline and have a read of Whitney Kimball’s obituaries of Friendster, MySpace, Bebo, OpenSocial, ConnectU, Tribe.net, Path, Yik Yak, Ello, Orkut, Google+, and Vine.
I’m sure your content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is perfectly safe.
Thursday, January 31st, 2019
During the internet of 2006, consumer products let anyone edit CSS. It was a beautiful mess. As the internet grew up, consumer products stopped trusting their users, and the internet lost its soul.
The internet of 2019 is vital societal infrastructure. We depend on it to keep in touch with family, to pay for things, and so much more.
Just because it got serious doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and weird.
Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
The internet never forgets? Bollocks!
We were told — warned, even — that what we put on the internet would be forever; that we should think very carefully about what we commit to the digital page. And a lot of us did. We put thought into it, we put heart into, we wrote our truths. We let our real lives bleed onto the page, onto the internet, onto the blog. We were told, “Once you put this here, it will remain forever.” And we acted accordingly.
This is a beautiful love-letter to the archival web, and a horrifying description of its betrayal:
When they’re erased by a company abruptly and without warning, it’s something of a new-age arson.
Friday, January 27th, 2012
I loved this talk from Travis at New Adventures in Web Design, especially when he talked of the importance of Geocities and MySpace in democratising creative expression on the web.
We may have later bonded over that Ze Frank quote while in the toilet at the after-party …there may have even been hugs.
Thursday, July 14th, 2011
It’s hard to believe that it’s been half a decade since The Show from Ze Frank graced our tubes with its daily updates. Five years ago to the day, he recorded the greatest three minutes of speech ever committed to video.
In the midst of his challenge to find the ugliest MySpace page ever, he received this comment:
Having an ugly Myspace contest is like having a contest to see who can eat the most cheeseburgers in 24 hours… You’re mocking people who, for the most part, have no taste or artistic training.
Ze’s response is a manifesto to the democratic transformative disruptive power of the web. It is magnificent.
In Myspace, millions of people have opted out of pre-made templates that “work” in exchange for ugly. Ugly when compared to pre-existing notions of taste is a bummer. But ugly as a representation of mass experimentation and learning is pretty damn cool.
Regardless of what you might think, the actions you take to make your Myspace page ugly are pretty sophisticated. Over time as consumer-created media engulfs the other kind, it’s possible that completely new norms develop around the notions of talent and artistic ability.
That’s one of the reasons why I dread the inevitable GeoCities-style shutdown of MySpace. Let’s face it, it’s only a matter of time. And when it does get shut down, we will forever lose a treasure trove of self-expression on a scale never seen before in the history of the planet. That’s so much more important than whether it’s ugly or not. As Phil wrote about the ugly and neglected fragments of Geocities:
GeoCities is an awful, ugly, decrepit mess. And this is why it will be sorely missed. It’s not only a fine example of the amateur web vernacular but much of it is an increasingly rare example of a period web vernacular. GeoCities sites show what normal, non-designer, people will create if given the tools available around the turn of the millennium.
Substitute MySpace for GeoCities and you get an idea of the loss we are facing.
Let’s not make the same mistake twice.
Saturday, January 8th, 2011
Douglas Rushkoff on the repeating circle of life that all big online companies live through.
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009
A quick way of leaving Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and MySpace. It uses the password anti-pattern but after using this, I guess you won't be needing that password again.
Tuesday, March 10th, 2009
danah boyd addresses the Microsoft Research Tech Fest.
Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
Amanda L. French, Ph.D. » Blog Archive » Facebook terms of service compared with MySpace, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter
Social networking Terms Of Service compared and contrasted.
Wednesday, August 15th, 2007
The need for portable social networks hits the mainstream press: Professor Michael Geist writes an article for the BBC website.
Saturday, June 30th, 2007
Danah Boyd's essay is required reading for anyone with even a passing interest in social networks.
Tuesday, June 12th, 2007
And the Hackday band is.... The Rumble Strips. Never heard of 'em. But they sound like they could be fun.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2007
John McCain stole Mike Davidson's bandwidth. This sounds like a job for .htaccessman.
Sunday, October 15th, 2006
Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, and Beth Orton get together to dance about architecture.
Sunday, March 26th, 2006
Danah Boyd writes an essay that would've been a blog post but it got too long.
Tuesday, March 21st, 2006
Danah Boyd's talk at ETech 2006.