The Ephemeral Internet
I am forever shocked at how much of the internet is gone now, as well as how much persists.
This speaks to the voluminous mediocrity that I’ve put on display over the years that does and does not still exist on the Internet I’m some fashion. I’ve shed more than one tear over those parts of the Internet that have vanished as though swallowed by The Nothing as described by The Never Ending Story.
I’ve made some popular content that’s simply gone now. Lost to the amnesia of the Internet’s churn.
Recently Imgur announced that, due to their current rules they’re purging their old content not attached to an account starting May 15th, 2023. Goodbye pr0n. Goodbye car repair tutorials. Good bye useful screenshots.
Of course this isn’t new, many sites have purged their content or simply disappeared over the years. Even Imgur would remove old content that didn’t receive at least 1 vote in a rolling 6 month period.
Hoodie Allen said: “The Internet is forever”
But is it really?
It's strange to think that the vast expanse of the World Wide Web has become akin to a digital Bermuda Triangle. As if the fickle waves of the internet's sea have devoured the relics of our digital past, leaving only a whisper of a time once lived.
Yet, despite the inevitable disappearance of countless memories, the online world remains stubbornly cluttered with pockets of our digital history. A persistent testament to the creative bursts that once had us typing away in the dead of night or glued to our screens, watching as the world unfolded in front of us in pixels.
For better or worse, the content we create tends to leave an indelible mark on the fabric of the internet. It's a duality that has both saved and condemned many – with the ability to remember and the refusal to forget.
In a world where the internet is a fickle, ephemeral thing, we must ask ourselves: what happens when the digital world decides what stays and what goes? What does it say about the importance of our shared experiences, our victories, and our follies?
As we wave goodbye to the nameless pr0n, the tutorials, and even those hilarious memes that once lit up the internet like a thousand suns, we're reminded of the transient nature of our digital existence. We're constantly building castles on the sand, aware that the waves might come crashing in at any moment.
And still, we continue creating. We document, we learn, and we grow. We pour our hearts out into the endless expanse of the internet, despite knowing that one day, it may all be swallowed by the tides of change.
And not we’re getting language learning models to create even more content for us from the content its already consumed.
This continuous cycle of creation and destruction is, perhaps, the most intriguing aspect of the digital age. It's a testament to our unyielding desire to innovate, to connect, and to share.
As we mourn the loss of the internet's forgotten, let us also celebrate the birth of new ideas and perspectives. For, as long as we continue to navigate these shifting sands, we will continue to mold and shape the digital landscape into something unique, beautiful, and lasting. And perhaps, that is what truly matters in this ever-evolving virtual world.
So here's to you, Internet: to the impermanence, the persistence, and the beautiful chaos you've brought into our lives. May we continue to tread your ever-shifting shores, leaving our footprints behind as we carve new paths into the unknown.