Thursday, September 20, 2012

History is not kept well on the Internet

"A significant proportion of the websites that this social media [around the Arab Spring] points to has disappeared. And the same pattern occurs for other culturally significant events, such as the the H1N1 virus outbreak, Michael Jackson’s death and the Syrian uprising. In other words, our history, as recorded by social media, is slowly leaking away.
The researchers found that 27 percent of content linked to two years ago via social media has since disappeared. A Twitter history of the Arab Spring now leads to a lot of long-gone Web pages."

This is sad.  When Anonymous began protesting Scientology in 2008, I went on their web site and posted that "you need to have an archivist!"  Fortunately, quite a bit of that fleeting history, such as the call to arms on, were captured.  But in many cases people don't think about the historical nature of what they are doing, and don't even consider preserving the content of their actions.

I'm not sure what the solution is, except maybe for some Great Library somewhere to capture everything so the important stuff can be gleaned later. You listening, NSA?

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