I started my site in 2009 and, albeit erratically, have shared writing and thoughts on a wide range of topics on it since then. There was my ‘tech journo’ phase when I was plugged into that world and wrote posts on launches, new gadgets, innovations, etc. In fact, one of my first posts was on Nokia, when it was still dominating the market.
There’s been my extended music phase where I have written about artists, albums and everything in between, including attempting to create regular features like Digital Crates, where I share musicians and albums I ‘discover’ and Life Soundtrack, where I write about songs and albums that form part of my life’s soundtrack.
I have also shared random thoughts on whatever catches my fancy, my journey through different spaces, like motorcycles, parenting experiences, and articles that I have written for other platforms. There are also pages sharing background on the different things that occupy my time, including my book and my podcast.
The other day, my site went down. All of a sudden, I wasn’t able to access anything on it. And, as a result, I found myself wondering how I would feel if everything was gone. Funnily enough, all I could think was ‘it would be a good time for new beginnings, to refresh and refocus my site in line with where I am today. I spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to structure, how and present all the stuff I create, whether it is writing, podcasting and audio or even video, which is something I still plan to explore more.
Chatting to a friend about this, we ended talking about legacy and how all this ‘content’ we create starts to consume when, considering how ephemeral our world is today, isn’t really about legacy.
I am still a big believer in having a website that serves as home base for what I create because, in truth, I don’t truly own any of what goes onto social media and I gave up certain rights when I signed up for them. For example, in Facebook’s terms of service, it states: “When you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights on or in connection with our Products, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, and worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings).”
Plus to think that the platforms will live forever is a tad foolish, methinks. I lost a bunch of blog posts from a poetry tour of the UK when MySpace changed hands. I don’t have any of them. And, having written for many a magazine in my time, I don’t have the bulk of my writing – other than unedited versions sitting in Dropbox and the occasional pdf. Ironically, two blogs I started on Blogger in the early 2000s are still up – imperfectpoetry and infinitepursuit.
A magazine I edited and wrote extensively for, which had most of my articles on their site, was sold in the last two years and now, when I do a search for my name on the site, all that comes up is ‘No posts to display’. Another magazine I was editor for only had my articles in print and it is no more. I have a couple of copies in storage and some pdfs but the majority of what I wrote, over a four-year period, is lost, to me, at least.
And, when I left radio, where I had a talk show for just under three, all my shows disappeared from the interwebs. I have some of the recordings but not all. Which is all to say, I am not as precious about what I work on as I used to be. Or at least I have been forced not to be precious about my work.
Sometimes I wonder whether it is because everything has become so temporary, so fleeting. Our indignation, our celebration, all seems to last a week or two and then we move onto the next thing.
Obviously, I didn’t have to make the transition because you are reading this here, and all the posts from the last 12 or so years are still here. I continue to debate as to whether I should just leave them there, archive them or delete them. And still need to figure out how to archive my writing and stuff that I still have access to.