The Impermanence of the Internet..?

Let’s assume I die tomorrow.

Alright, let’s not be quite so morbid to start off.

Let’s assume I die the day before this website is to be renewed. They will probably give me a warning of a deferred payment for 30 days. Perhaps 60. Then the website is deactivated. And after another 60 days, this website will have been deleted. I haven’t put this on an auto-renewal plan. There will be no one paying for the website if I don’t do it.

In such a situation, this website will cease to exist. More importantly, (as if anything we do has importance; let’s humor ourselves that it does) everything I’ve written so far will evaporate as if it never existed. As if it were never written. Some of it might linger on in some people’s memories, those of who have read some of it. But eventually it’ll all be gone. If there is a future generation that could have tripped over some sign of my existence by way of my thoughts, this medium of storage, the Internet, the blogosphere, doesn’t offer for that possibility at all. Then again, why does it matter for anyone in a future where new memories will be created to ever read the ramblings of mine from 2021? I think even in my most cynical of states, I know the answer to this question is that it does matter. Because as meaningless as someone’s (yours, mine) day today is for a future that might be unrecognizable from today, it might just open up someone’s imagination to wonder about a time they never knew. A time they were never told about. After all, it’s only because of scientists of generations past noting down all their findings that science and technology has made the progress it has today.

There are definitely many points of failure that need to fail before the aforementioned apocalypse sets in. My payment to WordPress has to stop. Failing which, my website will probably be demoted to a domain with the characteristic branding of a freeloader by way of the website hosting this page – which is not so bad. Then at some point, WordPress itself has to stop existing, which is not all that farfetched a scenario. Businesses are sunset all the time. The point is, there can be a situation in which the passing-down of thoughts to the next generations can fail if continued in this medium.

Then what medium is foolproof? Or rather, deathproof? Is there such a way? Is the actual practice of writing on paper better? I’m inclined to say – Yes. I’ve seen written notes from 3 generations prior to mine, which, while in Tamil, are still present. But as I “write” this, I realize I’m at a cusp-ish-generation that will be the first to leave behind thoughts in a digital format i.e. in a cloud-based form. So I have no real yardstick by which to brand this form of journaling an inferior one.

I guess time will tell.

But I won’t be around to find out.

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