Contemplation: Abandonment in an Electronic Age

Greetings everybody!  I am beginning to realize that I seem to contemplate more things than I am able to write down in a reasonable time frame.  This may partially be due to the fact that instead of writing all my contemplations down I instead to choose to partake in other activities, like going hiking and mushroom hunting or lying around on my bed while drinking cheap beer, crunching on some chips, watching old episodes of the X-Files, and all around being a lazy bum; either way I’m essentially preoccupied with other things and so a lot of my contemplations go on a kind of hold, or are never actualized at all.

Which might tie in with today’s contemplation really. I title this piece “Abandonment in an Electronic Age” because I have found myself forced into thinking about the way in which blogs and twitter accounts die the quick death.  That being in that they are created, briefly exist, and then fade into the background noise of the inter-webs of the vast Internet (which is essentially a series of tubes — oh Ted Stevens you goof).  While I have long been aware of this reality (likely partaking in it to some degree myself) it was really brought to my attention over the last couple days by two articles; John Swansburg’s and Jeremy Singer-Vine’s “Orphaned Tweets” on and Dave Rosenberg’s “Twitter and blogs: Post once and bail out” on CNET.  “Orphaned Tweets” was more interesting to me in the long run because it was a bit funnier and seemed to deeply consider the “human” reason for this occurrence of single tweet Twitter accounts and one time blog posts, whereas Mr. Rosenberg’s is just a summary of the matter (by the way Mr. Rosenberg, you say “via Salon. com” but link to the article . . . don’t confuse people, fix it so I’m confusing people with this comment . . . just sayin’).

I guess what interests me is what this all says about the whole Internet, Social Web, Web 2.0 jazzy snazzy new technology a day culture in which we live in.  To a degree things are happening so fast in the advancement of the way we communicate and exist on the web that many of us can’t keep up.  We are alerted to the next new thing, and s immediately leap at it, only to decide after the leap that the value for us just might not be there.  This is a simplification of course, because this is suggesting the “get it” factor of the Internet, which I am willing to bet a lot of people don’t have.  I would guess that there is an overwhelming reality of impulsive sign-ups on the web.  Some new toy or tool is mentioned to you, so you go, make your account (probably use or try to use your favorite username or login) and then can’t seem to find the real practicability of it and so hardly if ever go back.

Of course there could be other reasons too.  Humans seem to have a natural tendency to forget things and so I assume that plays a big role as well.  Also, as “Orphaned Tweets” points out, a tragedy of some sorts may occur and thus the new account in whatever looses any relevancy if not its actual user.  Possibly a better service is found (I signed up for Gmail long before signing up for Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail . . . in the end I didn’t need to waste my time on the later two as I pretty much only ever use Gmail).  Or, I’m sure, something else occured and an account of some electronic Internety type is abandoned.

I guess the next logical question is “what happens to abandoned accounts?”  Honestly I don’t know.  I think that some email services, if not used for a certain period of time (like six months or a year) close the account.  Now whether or not that frees us the user name or password I really can’t say.  I have no clue what happens to dead Twitter accounts or long unused blogs.  I do know that I last posted on LiveJournal (at 181 weeks ago and can still login (but not post, because I don’t want to, and all the posts are already provided on this blog anyway — check the pages).  I guess it is arbitrary and all depends on the service or account type.

But doesn’t that junk the tubes?  Probably, but fuck, if you’re looking for an unjunked Internet, I hate to break it to you but the war was lost a long long time ago.  Just look at some of the shit out there!  The better question is . . . does it matter?

Well that, like so many things, depends on perspective.  Ultimately I don’t care if a lot of different accounts in various webservies are created and then abandoned; it does not truly affect me in my day to day basis.  But where it can get aggravating is probably when somebody wants to make use of a a usename or some such only to find that it has been taken, and then maybe further discover that it is essentially dead and/or shit.  I imagine this happens a lot in the quest to grab domain names, especially ones own domain name.That being said, I find it interesting that has nothing to do with God and, as far as I can tell, neither does (Lord is my name by the way, hence the name of this blog . . . get it?).

I just wonder how far the junking of the tubes can go? Forever?  No, that is impractical, forever isn’t fathmoable.  But I guess it could go on for a long time and people who are truly interested in making an account are going to be forced into fewer and fewer options for user names or something like that.

Shit . . . I feel like I had more to write about in this contemplation, but I was drinking some beer (a couple?) while I wrote and now just find myself really heady . . . not drunk . . . just heady.  Basically I can’t remember what I was trying to get to.  Ah, the pointless end of a contemplation . . . I abandon it here . . . how appropriate . . . how absurd.

~ by Nathaniel on June 9, 2009.

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