On internet foot-prints: content pesistence, reputation and virtual debris

Have you ever considered your internet foot-print ?  Few grasped in the early days of the internet that web content can persist indefinitely.  I wrote recently about my history as a blogger, and while a few old blogs of mine are still out there, I’ve taken many other sites and profiles down over time.

Footprints in the sand - photo Bridgeen Gillespie

Like this but permanent…

The current advice for online entrepreneurs is to have a presence everywhere possible on the Web. When I stopped trading as Cherry and Cinnamon, had to reconsider what to do with all the online profiles I’d created across multiple platforms. In one way it was liberating, I joyfully dumped all the ones I didn’t like: pinterest, facebook, linkedin and tumblr. I changed my instagram and twitter handles rather than create new ones and lose all my contacts. And despite having worked hard for SEO visibility I even started a whole new blog (this one!)  because my old site no longer represented me.

However having ‘lived’ online for over a decade it sometimes feels like there is too much internet debris out there with my name on it. For every web account I deleted there was something else I left live ‘just in case’; old blogs, etsy and flickr just abandoned.

The domain on my old craft blog runs out next year. It feels like a deadline. Should delete and archive CherryandCinnamon when the domain expires? Or do I leave it out there ‘for the C.V‘? And  why haven’t I removed my old comic book sites already? I’m not doing this stuff anymore, so I have nothing to promote. And if I were, would I really want clients seeing out of date work?

cyberman- delete

Cyberman says……

It’s tempting to look at those old online pages as evidence of things we did, and who we once were.  Part of me wonders if it is somehow dishonest to delete them, like betraying history. But if I truly own my online presence, then who gets to see my past is not up to fate, surely. Ultimately my online reputation is my responsibility (even if no one is looking!) But even now I dithering about what to do.

Do you ever think about your online presence ? Is your internet footprint leaving a messy trail of unfinished business across the worldwide web? Have you ever considered a purge of old internet accounts? If so, tell me about it in the comments. Also, what do you think I should do?

 

Advertisements

10 comments

  1. I completely understand where you’re coming from. It takes a lot to permanently delete something that was once a large part of your life. I kept my Myspace (from forever ago) until about a year ago, and my Etsy shop now sits empty because I keep telling myself that I will go back to it, even though I know that I probably won’t. I’d say, if you have any thoughts at all about putting any work into them ever again, keep them. If not, delete them and move on, there is so much more to work towards in life!

    Like

    1. Thanks for your considered comment Grazby. I’m even less sure than before now. Even though I know i will probably never add to those old blogs again i feel a little sentimental about them. Etsy makes more sense to hang on to though- just so you don’t have to set up shop all over again!

      Like

  2. You know that I’m all for deleting old online incarnations and moving on to new things. I’ve removed lots of old profiles, blogs, online diaries and whatnot. Some I regret as there were photos on there that are now gone forever. Part of me wants to delete all the crafty posts on my blog but I know that I’d regret it. If you’re hesitating, you’re not ready to delete!

    Like

  3. I am an abondoning-and-leave-a-messy-pile-behind kind of online-person *lol* these days I try to look at stuff I left behind and write them down, if i find / remember my account informations I delete the unused 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, we all do it! And if it doesn’t bother you that’s grand. I definitely need to keep accounts written down- I’m always slightly worried in case i forget details that leave sites/profiles hanging around out there forever.

      Like

  4. I sometimes get in the mood for a good purge, but I hardly ever delete things fully. I’ll keep an archival copy. I do long for those early internet days, maybe I’ll start fresh somewhere and pretend it’s 2003.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Purges are good, I recommend them. How do you archive your sites? Are they still online somewhere but private or do you download and close them? I’m never sure what to do. x

      Like

      1. I do whatever is easiest, really. Usually use whatever export function is available. I’m comfortable enough with databases if I ever had to go back to it. I never do go back to it, though. Archiving is just to make myself more comfortable because deep down, I am scared of making sweeping decisions.

        Like

  5. Yes, I think about this often. And, like you, I’ve gotten rid of some accounts (even deleting every individual post of a few blog platforms before deleting the account, just in case) and kept others. I have some that I never use, some that I visit periodically (Twitter), and some that I only have because it was convenient at the time. For the past couple of years, I’ve taken to reviewing accounts periodically and deleting ones I don’t use (or, in the case of things like Twitter, unfollowing some people/companies). Though, as often as not, I just add something to my maybe list. The thing about blogs is that some of them are a record of a big part of you or your life. Doubly so if it connects to your job (ex: you’re an artist and your old blog has examples of your work).

    Sometimes you just need to rip the bandaid off and move on, but, if you’re hesitant, maybe you need to work on a plan to preserve and/or migrate the content. I had a few old blog posts that I outright copied to my current blog, others that I used as fuel to create a new post. Of course, this is much harder if you have a lot of stuff that you want to preserve or migrate.

    If you’re unsure and don’t mind paying the domain fees, maybe you should hang onto it and give yourself time to find a solution that you’re comfortable with.

    Like

  6. […] constant approval like a drug, and to incessant distraction preying on our fear of missing out. I’ve already radically reduced the platforms I use and I’ve deleted and hidden phone apps to reduce time-wasting on twitter or stressing over […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s