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When We’re Gone: On Death & Blogging

This will be my third post this month dealing with death, which is unusual for me. I don’t usually spend so much time discussing death, but it’s really been in my face lately. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it may just be a reminder for me to get my affairs in order and start prioritizing what matters in life since this ride is coming to an end one way or another.

Today, I want to discuss death and blogging. In my post about my pen pal’s passing, I mentioned her blog has scheduled posts that are still being published. Some of them are partially written, but most are just topics and reminders for her to flesh out her posts. It’s interesting, it’s sort of a ghost ship blog that just keeps sailing without a captain.

A few days ago, another blogger I read made a post that he has terminal cancer. He has written over 1,800 posts reviewing various Western movies and entertainment. It’s a massive archive of one man’s opinions covering all sorts of TV shows and movies. He mentioned in his post, that if someone wanted to take it over to email him, but it would have to be quickly otherwise the site would remain online for a bit.

I could take over the site. I mean, I don’t have nearly the Western knowledge he has, but I could preserve this man’s work and allow it to live on for the foreseeable future. But what would I do with it? Just leave it up as a memorial? How long would I want to keep paying for space to host the site? It just doesn’t seem reasonable for me to step in here at a time when I’m trying to simplify my blogging. So, odds are it’s probably going to die. It’ll be just another piece of internet archeology to pick at on

A few years ago, I was browsing the Angelfire Member Directory when I ran across a Nick’s WCW Page from 1997. This site looked like dozens of others at the time with a simple WCW background, low quality images, a handful of rumors, and theme songs. But what made this page stand out to me was at the top there was a small photo of the guy who made the page, and his mother had created an update. The note said he had passed away in an ATV accident and he loved working on his website.

I was so thankful his mother had taken the time to update the page twenty-five years ago and I thought it was a touching tribute not seen by many. A little while later, I used his layout, background and graphics to host a static site that featured my various wrestling posts on The Wrestling Insomniac as a tribute.

I sometimes think about what will happen if I pass away suddenly. The blog and Mastodon posts stop, and the emails go unanswered. My wife doesn’t have much interest in these things, so I don’t think she could navigate to update my blog nor my Mastodon, although she might respond to some emails. Suddenly, all the work and words written no longer matter. They are just wasting away on the web, waiting for the domain or hosting to expire, whatever comes first. Folks unsubscribe from the RSS because what is the point, no new content is coming. And just like that, it’s all over.

Last year, I experimented with turning my old posts into .epub files. I created several books dating back to 2020 with posts from all across my blogs and journals. Because I included my journal entries, I didn’t feel like these were something I’d want to share with the world. But I do wonder if maybe it’s wise to create .epub to better preserve my blog posts? I mean, I don’t have children and I really don’t think there would be much demand to read my old blog posts, but if it takes minimal effort, what does it hurt?

With all this death occurring lately, it’s encouraged me to make some changes in my life. I’ve been decluttering, organizing, and even re-evaluating the people in my life. Now I’ve turned my attention to my digital life, and I realize I need to clean some things up. I need to make things easier for my wife should I pass away in regard to taking care of things and getting ahold of passwords. I created her a BitWarden account so she could have access to mine, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even remember she has it. I thought about pre-writing a blog post in case I do die, and she can just click on it and post it. (Then again… if something ever glitches and it gets posted by accident what a mess that would be!) I also think I should give her a list of email addresses to contact and some information on where my hosting and whatnot reside. She knows the names, but if you offered her a million dollars and asked her what platform my blog was posted on, I’d guarantee she couldn’t tell you. She’s heard the name Scribbles many times, but it’s just not something that she would remember.

They say the internet never forgets, and maybe that’s true for some stuff, but I do think that most of the words that we are out here writing will definitely die off and be lost. We won’t have some random nephew or cousin run across a diary or journal twenty years from now in an attic, because what we wrote will no longer be accessible or easily found. Maybe that’s a good thing considering how public the internet is, but I can’t help but wonder if we are doing ourselves an injustice by not finding a better way to archive or preserve what we’ve written. I’m open to any suggestions or thoughts on the subject.

Published in#WeblogPoMo2024

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