Blogpril April 4th – Permanent/Impermanent Content

I started a new job today, so this afternoon I got a different train home than I have for the past year. This train passed a particular tall block of flats which I remember also passing daily on the way to university a few years ago. What I enjoyed watching about the construction of this building was that as it grew, on the plain concrete before any cladding was added, some creative workers painted a series of small murals on the side relating to where the top was at a particular time – a Santa face at Christmas, an Easter egg, and brilliantly, Darth Vader’s helmet on 4th May. 
That art is still there, but it’s likely that no-one will ever see it again until the flats are demolished, and perhaps not even then. Realising this got me thinking about some things I said yesterday on digital content disappearing quickly. 
While it’s absolutely true that content ‘lasts forever’ – (usually something said as a warning about putting embarrassing photos up on Facebook) the truth is that in the majority of cases, it lasts only the few hours that it appears on newsfeeds, perhaps a few days at most on Facebook. Once it’s off people’s screens and out of sight, in a world of information overload – it’s gone. Still in existence, but out of sight, unless someone makes a deliberate effort to dig it out again, or indeed to go back and remove it. On the one hand, things posted to the Internet are permanent in their actual existence. But in their existence in the minds of people, they’re gone in the blink of an eye. 


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