36-24-36

I was curious about what the story on the "ideal" female figure of "36-24-36" was, so I searched for those numbers and found a fantastic website, Thirty Six 24 Thirty Six, and a post there, WHY 36-24-36 IS BULLSHIT…AND THE TITLE OF OUR BLOG. After reading that post I wondered if their blog was still active. Maybe because so many more blogs are started than maintained, it was the sort of thing I wonder. Turns out the most recent post was 31 Jan '13. Or if you like palindromes, 31-1-13. For a moment I was sad that this effort had ended.

Why do we, or at least I, sometimes have a publish forever or it's a failure attitude?

Blogfading

Artists go through different phases in their work. Maybe you preferred an earlier phase to the current one. But if it's a living investigation, it goes where it goes. Maybe you don't like your favorite band's new record as much as the old one. But if they just made the same great record over and over, you'd be really bored.

Just because you enter your Rose Period doesn't mean your Blue Period was a failure. Just because you stopped posting on a blog doesn't mean that what you did post was a failure.

Blogfading, Vlogfading, Podfading happen.

It turns out authors Naomi & Elle wrote 86 posts between August '12 & January '13. How awesome is that!? And then maybe their project was done. Or maybe it wasn't done, but other things took focus. Their Blue Period was done. Their Dark Side of the Moon record was finished. Nobody expects a painter to paint the same forever. Nobody expects a musician to work on one album forever. But something about the openendedness of the web makes "failing to publish" feel like a "failure."

This Website is Under Construction!

On a lot of sites you'll find, in the first post or two, an explanation of where this site came from and maybe where it will go. After a long posting absence you might find apologies and explanations for the absence. (I think these are kind of a waste of time. If you want to post again, it's probably best to just post again)

What you never see anymore is those old This Website is Under Construction! banners. It's not that all websites now get finished. Rather, I think it's that we all now understand that nothing is ever finished. Everything is always under construction. So why even bother saying it!? (like a "sorry for not posting" apology - why bother! :)

Even when a site does stop, it's not that it's achieved the perfect state. It's more likely that it's like Pompeii frozen by Vesuvius in one particular state of unfinishedness. Cities are never finished. They just migrate from unfinished state to unfinished state. And maybe one day the mosquito is trapped in amber. The city is frozen in lava. The blog ends wherever it happened to be.

Something that's also pretty rare is a bookend post to that Welcome to my blog - here's why I made it and where it might go. An it's been great and now this site is done post. I've seen one or two, but usually, whether it's death, having babies, or getting a real job, the old site just loses focus. That's fine really! But if you do notice you haven't posted in a year, maybe it's time to write a bookend post. Tie a bow on the package and set it free. Put a cork in the bottle and cast it into the sea.

Code is Poetry. Websites are Paintings.

We shouldn't think of websites like newspapers. Stopping publication is not a failure. We should think of websites as works of art. Sometimes a work of art is finished. And that that's just fine!

Sustainability

I think a lot about web sustainability these days. What if Naomi & Elle had bought the domain name thirtysix-24-thirtysix.com and bought some web hosting to go with it? Since it's pushing 4 years since their last post, it's likely that their domain registration would have expired and would now be a broken link. Plus they'd probably have stopped paying for web hosting and their site would be down. Their old and unupdated installation of WordPress would probably still run, but they might have a plugin or theme that developed a vulnerability along the way.

Since they didn't buy a domain name or hosting, and just used free WordPress.com hosting and the free URL thirtysix24thirtysix.wordpress.com, their content is still there. Their ideas are still powerful. Ready to be read anytime.

There are lots of blog platforms that don't exist anymore. If you'd poured your creativity into one of them you might be lost now. A giant like Facebook probably won't go away any time soon, but you might not like their TOS or UI/UX. Self-hosting is sort of the gold standard. But self-hosted blogfading has a huge chance of turning into lost content. I don't want to shill for WordPress.com, but if you can trust someone like them to continue to exist, and continue to be a satisfactory platform, then it might just be the best bet.

That, or just type up some oldschool HTML pages, stick them on Amazon EC2, and give your niece a wad of cash to pay for web space after you're gone.

Cartoon of William Shakespeare at an iMac thinking