“Long gone,” Brian told me. I called the GoDaddy customer service line yesterday. I asked how long they keep around files from expired hosting accounts, and if there’s any chance I’d be able to get mine back. Brian hummed while he clicked some stuff, and then answered. “No. We retain users’ files for thirty days. Sorry.”
When I switched to Tumblr in April of 2011, my old hosting account went totally untended. I wasn’t using it to store anything for my blog, but it still had all of my old WordPress posts—everything I published from when I started blogging movie and video game reviews in 2007, to my daily-life accounts from 2010. I logged on to GoDaddy today to take a look at things and found the server gone. Apparently it had been gone for seven months. Quietly, just like the atoms that comprise our humanly bodies disconnect and connect again with other atoms of other things, the ones and zeroes that were in some way an image of my being back then became other ones and zeroes.
And so the posts of my youth, my tweenaged ramblings—the cryogenic freeze of my pre-adolescent prose, and by extension, personhood—have sunk into the abyss. I’d like to feel angry at GoDaddy for whatever sort of miscommunication happened (really, I should have backed up). I’d like to tear them a new one for omitting a single cautionary link in their monthly account statement emails. (I’d also like to tear them a new one for being a slimy, amoral corporation.) But it’s not worth the tension headache, because it won’t bring my blog posts back. It’s also not worth it because on a grander level, I think the universe is and will be pretty okay without them (and was pretty okay without them, for that matter). I think I’ll be just alright without them. Some microscopic etches on a spinning metal disc are not a carbon copy of the stuff that makes up the carbon me. I think the only thing that is me is me.
That’s a wholly obvious remark but it feels profound. I think along with our evolving perception of infinity has come an evolving perception of self: a perception that, when we catch ourselves, we know is silly—”Of course my Facebook timeline isn’t really me!”—but permeates our psyches nonetheless. The internet is not you, or an extension of you, or a part of you. It is a bunch of pictures of you. It is also a place to talk to yourself.
Excuse me while I ask Archive.org for a copy of my old blog posts.