I recently found a service called Medium, started by Twitter and Blogger founder Evan Williams. Medium seems like a more exclusive blogging platform, just letting certain authors partake in content creation. So Williams is a serial (micro)blogging service founder… This reminded me of the ephemeral nature of web services. They’re started and abandoned at the drop of a hat in the name of profits. Posterous with GeoCities and Google Page Creator before them – these sites that users trust their content with – inevitably shut their doors. Users might get a warning, but they don’t get their URLs where readers expect their content to be.
So this is my warning to all who create content on the web: be wary of placing your eggs in someone else’s basket.
You wouldn’t meet a random person on the street and strike up a deal to store your belongings in their home for free, would you? What if they stop answering the door when you need to grab your waffle iron? What if they decide to do some spring cleaning and tell you to find a new place to put your stuff? You should be the shepherd of your life, including the digital portion.
So what should you do to avoid losing your digital writing to a service shutdown? Avoid free blogging platforms. If your halfway serious about keeping your writing available at the same address for the foreseeable future, then don’t use Blogger. Don’t use Tumblr. Or Myspace. Learn how to host your own site. It’s not that difficult and once you know how to put a web page up you will have a myriad of webhosts that you can use. And you can switch between any of them without losing your writing or the URLs that point to it.
Once you remove yourself from being at mercy of corporate whims you will be much better off.