Stuff comes and goes. And when it comes to the web, things can go quite quickly. The following is a picture of web startups. The ‘x’s are ones that didn’t make it. The green circles are ones that got acquired (doesn’t mean they have been successful). Note that the image is dated 2009, so current data may look more pink. 🙂
Coping with failure
A couple of people hacking away in their back offices can create and launch a product just as quickly as they can remove it or allow it to rot.
I remember liking and using StikiPad. An online wiki. The creators left it to rot. I don’t know exactly what happened, but there sure were some unhappy people left unable to access or export their data.
Of course they should be unhappy.
Coping with change
The owner of the London Bridge Twitter bot were also unhappy when it got handed over to their ‘rightful’ owner. I would have been too. London Bridge now ‘own’ the @LondonBridge Twitter account. Or at least they think they do.
At the end of the day Twitter has control over it. Sure there are legalities and trademarks. We can all put efforts into our Twitter relationships, but Twitter has the final say. Twitter could disappear. Just like Stikipad or the Lehman Brothers did.
Or perhaps they could change their business model causing unforseen changes. Or perhaps they become old skool and we will all find out we no longer want to use it.
Coping with the future
Who knows. We can’t predict the future.
What would you do if you no longer had access to Twitter? How would you keep in touch with people? The same goes for FaceBook. Or now, Google+.
What if people came to rely on Google+ and then it is removed as a service? Like what has happened to Google Wave.
Do you blog on a hosted solution? Like Blogger, Tumblr, Posterous…?
If they were to disappear overnight (or over a few weeks), where would you go? How would you take your readership and content with you? What would happen to all that great SEO you had built up over the years?
I could go on. And on. Hopefully you catch the drift.
Living with it
It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use online services (aka ‘the cloud’). It often (or usually!) makes sense. It’s usually cheap or free to do so and very easy to get started ‘in minutes’.
However, the problem comes when the service halts, from their end or yours. Or when it doesn’t evolve as fast as competitors. Or when people choose to leave.
I don’t have answers for this.
I have connections, data and relationships everywhere. You probably do too.
Though I’m open to the concept that any one of the things that I use could disappear. It could be heart breaking and a real big pain in the back side, but it should be something that we should mentally prepare for.
For the time being I am:
- committed to hosting my own website - hopefully this is something I can always hold on to and people will always know to find me at rosiesherry.com
- Working towards keeping my contacts and relationships up to date
- Back up in more than one place - my website, contacts, documents, photos, videos, etc…
- Avoiding services where backing up or exporting data is not possible.
- Going to accept change in any of the online services I use. Embrace them where I can, move on if need be.
- Keeping my brain active so I can remember stuff without having to rely on the web ! 🙂
- Returning to logging everything on pen and paper, no, not really - this one is a lie 🙂