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Probabilmente non ti ricordi Internet [EN]

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Kaitlyn Tiffany su The Atlantic scrive a proposito di una serie di libri, Remember the Internet, che parlano della storia recente del web e di quella serie di sottoculture e comunità che nel tempo vengono cancellate dalle rimozioni di pagine e di file.

The internet is constantly disappearing. It’s a world of broken links and missing files—often because the people in charge cast things off on a whim. In 2019, MySpace lost 50 million music files and apologized for “the inconvenience.” Around the same time, Flickr started deleting photos at random. Even though many of Vine’s most unnerving or charming or “iconic” six-second videos have been preserved, its community was shattered when the platform was shut down. It doesn’t help that the internet has no attention span and no loyalty: What isn’t erased or deleted can still be quickly forgotten, buried under a pile of new platforms, new subcultures, and new joke formats. The feed refreshes, and so does the entire topography of the web.

Plenty of people are working to archive the internet as quickly as it slips away. The constantly crawling bots of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and the efforts of amateur archivists and hackers are all part of an ongoing battle against what is often referred to as “digital rot.” But something is missing from these troves of data. Anyone, for instance, can download all their personal information from Facebook—a feature added in 2018 to give users a greater sense of control over their online life. But data alone can tell a future historian only so much, says Megan Ankerson, an associate professor at the University of Michigan who specializes in internet history. “The whole experience of what Facebook is or what it feels like to use it would not be able to be reconstructed in the archive,” she told me.

Even if every single website and every single online post were preserved somewhere for posterity, the feeling of the internet would still be missing—the petty arguments, the 3 a.m. rushes of inspiration, the thrills and heartbreaks and blue-light nausea. So how can we remember that?

Immagine da Wikimedia Commons

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