“The Internet Never Forgets”

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While digging through some old emails, I uncovered a long-forgotten set of articles I wrote for the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington‘s FullBleed digital magazine. Clicking those links, you’ll notice neither correctly resolve to either ADCMW’s or FullBleed’s website. They don’t exist anymore.

You’ve no doubt heard someone say, “The Internet never forgets,” generally in the context of that embarrassing photo of So-And-So that just showed up on Facebook. The implication being that you should be cautious about what you post online because it will be available for anyone to find for forever.

The Internet never forgets. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Remember Geocities? AOL Hometown? Ma.gnolia? Pownce? Dodgeball? Dopplr? Gowalla? The list goes on.

The Internet forgets every single day. The ADCMW and FullBleed sites are just two more examples of what happens when companies or organizations close up shop with no plan (or desire) to preserve their content.

It was only thanks to the efforts of The Internet Archive and The Wayback Machine that I was able to recover my contributions and give them a permanent home here:

From this experience, I’ve been reminded of two things:

  1. The content I create online is incredibly important and should exist first on a domain that I own and have control over. Remember, cool URLs don’t change.
  2. The Internet Archive is a global treasure. You should make a donation and support the efforts of the fine people who dedicate their careers to preserving our digital culture.

I encourage you all to take a moment and consider the importance of preserving your online creations for yourself, your family, and for future generations.