When the sound clip of his baby’s first recorded cry was no longer available online where he had posted it, Robert Scoble began thinking about how the stuff we put online just “leaks away”.
Sometimes you forget to pay the annual dues on a service like Flickr – where Scoble lost a bunch of photos. Sometimes the company goes bust. Sometimes all the stuff is there online but it’s hard to search for it.
I love the folks who say “you should have backed up.” How do you back up everything you do online? You can’t. Quick, back up all your Google Docs, your Tweets, your Flickr photos and all the metadata surrounding them (comments, tags, etc), your Facebook items, etc etc. You will die trying.
I know, I’ve been backing up like a crazy man lately since I got hacked. What’s funny is one of my brand new hard drives died. Luckily I had a backup of that. But what if I didn’t?
Original post is not too long, and it’s worth a full read.
This post led me to an annoying realization – on the one hand anything you put online stays online. You can’t delete every single copy even if you try, and it’s likely that something embarrassing will come back to bite you. On the other hand, it seems your most valuable online data – photos, old documents, email – is so volatile that you could lose it anytime.