The Ephemeral Internet

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I’ve come to believe that it’s not a good idea to keep all my content around indefinitely.

Before, I believed to keep everything posted on the internet for posterity and not to break links. This has changed in the last 18 months. The main reasons – amongst others – include Twitter shitstorms for things people posted in the past when they were different people and times were different as well, and the unbelievable amount of data which is created on the internet every day.

I pains me to even think about deleting old tweets, just because someone tries to spin those into something evil. Because this means they already succeeded in impacting my public behaviour.

But I also think that feed-based social media is quite ephemeral, because if I post a couple of times a day or week, nobody will read my posts from one year ago. It’s more like a fleeting chat than writing a book. And having those fleeting chats wither away with time is quite attractive to me.1

That climate change is promising doom to all of us, if we don’t get a grip on our consumption habits. This also means we have to be be more aware of how much data we create and keep around, as the internet’s power consumption and constant enlargement of data centers is not negligible.

I will keep my blog posts online, even though I deleted a lot of posts thrice already, and I might delete some more, if I restructure my online presence in the future and my old content wouldn’t fit my new me.

My favorite time interval is 90 days. Three months. Long enough to look something up if memory fails, short enough to stay closer to the current.

  1. Twitter doesn’t support deleting tweets after a certain time, only 3rd-party apps do. Unfortunately they need to have constant access to your Twitter account, which I think is not wise. But Mastodon has this ability built-in, which makes it an even more compelling alternative to Twitter. 

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