One of the things which I hate most about the Internet is the lack of permanence. People and things never really seem to stay around indefinitely or, at the very least, in the same place. Certainly good does come from change and form the levity of the internet, but good also comes when things stay the same.
For instance, if you agreed, you couldn’t comment on even sign my guestbook because Enetation is a piece of shit which doesn’t work half the time (and, consequently, causes my site to load like ass) and my guestbook service just shut down! But, you never really think when you sign up for a site “When will this shut down? Will I lose all my information? Will the service become unavailable someday? Will I lose all the friends and contacts I’ve made here?”
And there you have it. Online, as well as in life, the only thing you can really depend on is yourself, eh?
A few years back, I was active in a certain community but I stopped because the owner was always shutting it down or starting it over for one reason or another. For a while, the community moved to an entirely different site then moved back recently so I see it’s not stopped. I grew sick of losing my status and forum posts but, more importantly, I was sick of constantly having to re-sign up at the same site!
People do it, too. Of course, I know that not everyone can stick around the internet forever but it’s almost scary to think I could be chatting away with and enjoying spending time with someone who could disappear the next day, never to return. Of course, it’s happened to me numerous times.
And, though it’s not disappearing entirely, I am just as aggravated when people move their sites around. Closing one only to open 3 more which will be closed. Though I have had more than one host, my site has almost always been the same and content has been carried over so anyone can see that I am here to stay and my site is extant.
Even worse is sites which still exists but the owners of which who have left the scene. Comments and e-mails sit unread and without response for days, weeks, even months as the site rots and becomes stagnant or, until the host finally shuts it down. Of course, some will never be shut down and will drift aimlessly in the sea of faces that is the endless network of information pouring into our computer ports and spilling out onto our screens.
All that aside, I’m sure we’ve all shared the frustration of trying to locate a resource only to be directed to a 404 error or to stumble around the internet trying to find its new location. To know someone once existed and may yet exist but cannot be located is absurdly angering.
But what can we do? Can we make someone stay despite real life which interferes with our internet personalities and lives? Can we force someone to keep a website, a resource or an object online? No. But neither can we save everything we’d like to see once again in the future. I guess some things will just become lost in the abyss and that is permanent.