Thursday, June 25, 2009

What If It All Disappears?

Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, PBWiki, Slideshare, Delicious, LibraryThing, Trumba, Google Apps, Zoho etc. etc. etc. As sers of these and other similar systems on the internet we are all creating and sharing a significant amount of information in all forms that does not exist elsewhere. Much of this information has significant value to the creator, as well as the consumer.

What happens if it disappears?

We live in turbulent, complex times. Companies can easily come and go through bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions, or off-shoring.

What happens to the content then?
Will it just be deleted?
Will it be organized differently and be difficult find and render past links unusable?
Will it be sold off to someone else?
Will the company acquiring the content be a data miner/aggregator?
Will the company acquiring the company / content be from a different country with different privacy legislation?
Will we have reputation management challenges if content is merged / combined and paints a different picture than we intended?
Will the company doing the acquiring maintain the system and data (As Yahoo has done with Flickr and Google with YouTube)?

If the content is important to us (even something as simple as a Delicous link to a reference that supports important research conclusions), or possibly "mission critical," how can we ensure continued access?

Should we PDF and save our blogs, comments, web links etc. on our local systems?
Should we create a time/date stamped index/diary of comments we've made on various blogs, LinkedIn discussion forums, Digg, Redit, Technocrati?

If we continue to use free, or even paid, services on the Internet, can we count on enduring content availability? Or are we all just creating fundamentally highly disposable information of no lasting value?

1 comment:

Peter Zakrzewski said...

In a world where we value recorded information less and less and where it all becomes quickly transient and out-dated, we begin to realize the value of the knowledge stored inside our heads, the relationships that we foster with knowledgeable people, and how recorded information is simply a way of connecting with others. The content we create simply becomes a throughput, not an output.

And perhaps this little snippet of dystopia isn't so bad after all: