To those who don’t know me, I am new to the Internet. I have no published history and no stories to tell.
The above statement may well have been true 18 years ago, but I DO have a history. I have had a blog since before blog was even a word. Back in the mid–nineties I would learn basic HTML and share my stories via a dial up connection to the brave new world of web goers. I was connected and started to build up a library of posts. Admittedly, most of the posts were banal, of use to nobody but me, and lacking in informed design; but they were important to me at the time.
From uploading static HTML pages which were hosted on various free hosting platforms, I joined the Blogger beta – way back before they were purchased by Google. I remember having a Flash intro where my name would scale and spin around the screen for 15 seconds before a small ‘skip intro’ link would show. Yes, a whole 15 seconds. The background was a mustardy dirty dish water colour with brown text overlaid in what was probably 8px type. It was hideous but proved to be my playschool for learning what the Internet meant to me. From Blogger I wrote my own PHP scripts to serve my own blog, then I tried movable type, then Expression Engine, then Wordpress. There were probably a few more platforms along the way. All the time, building up a timelime of my history with the Internet.
I suspect that my blogging journey is similar to most people who now work within the web industry. Tweaking Geocities and altering Blogger templates are how many people learnt what holds a web page together. These early adopters will probably have a rich history on the web, embarassing uses of the marquee tag and table based layouts left on dusty old servers for a browser to pull up in seconds, causing instant shame to the modern day node wrangler.
As the brilliant Jeremy Keith recently pointed out in his recent talk at the equally excellent Beyond Tellerrand conference, the common phrase “the internet never forgets” is complete bollocks. Jeremy is passionate about people owning their data, quite right too.
Whilst I whole heartedly agree with what Jeremy has to say, I would add a caveat – back up your content til you can’t back up no ‘mo. Seriously, back the hell out of your content.
So this is where I own up to being a grade ‘A’ idiot. My online history has been purged. Gone. Deleted. Wiped out, forever. If you google my name now, the only content you will see of mine will be from twitter or guest posts on other blogs. To those who don’t know me, I am a ghost.
I have always taken my content with me to other platforms, whether that would be via an SQL dump, an XML export, or a long winded copy & paste. Like a fool, I didn’t store these backups locally. I foolishly assumed that my hosting company would be taking care of that for me. Afterall, storing data and moving it around is what they are experts at right?
Unfortunately not. Due to an admin error, my webhost deleted 27 sites of mine from my VPS server last week. Deleting all sites without my permission and without taking any sort of snapshot/mirror/backup. The webhost did apologise but pointed out that their terms of service state that they are NOT responsible for any loss of data. Even if they deleted the data themselves. I naively put my trust in the ‘experts’. I am an idiot. An idiot who feels physically sick when I think about the loss. I am still in mourning. I have a lot of work to do to rebuild various client and project sites and will be pointing domains to new servers over the next few days. So please, stop what you are doing and back up your data now, I wouldn’t want anybody else to have to go through this.
So for those who have just stumbled across this post: Hi, my name is Craig and I am new to the Internet. lol.