The Internet That Disappears

Kate Lindsay, Embedded:

I wrote about all this over at Study Hall, but it bears repeating here: the internet, it turns out, is not forever. It’s on more of like a 10-year cycle. It’s constantly upgrading and migrating in ways that are incompatible with past content, leaving broken links and error pages in its wake. In other instances, the sites simply shutter, or become so layered over that finding your own footprint is impossible — I have searched “Kate Lindsay Myspace” every which way and have concluded that my content from that platform must simply be lost to time, ingested by the Shai-Hulud of the internet.

It makes me wonder what will happen to a generation of materials shared over the internet but not on any website. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine is kind of a misnomer since it is only an archive of websites — and, even then, not all of them. But what about all of the stuff that only exists in apps? It is going to be a weird future which, I bet, will make Lindsay’s post feel almost quaint.