13 May 2011
Blogger has just reopened for business (i.e., I can sign in and write posts, and you can comment on them) after an unscheduled shutdown that lasted approximately 21 hours. Reports indicate that some scheduled maintenance from Wednesday night went awry, forcing Blogger to erase everything anyone posted yesterday. In my case that means an article on the Libertarian Party's legal battle with the state of North Dakota, which might still be cached somewhere. Blogger promises that these posts will be restored, but right now I'm even sure that the site itself will stay up for long. I suppose I should cut my free blog provider some slack, since this is the first extended loss of service I've experienced since I started blogging in 2007. But while blogging may now seem relatively primitive within the larger online social network, I still expect to be able to blog when the mood strikes me. I've seen disgruntled bloggers talk about moving their business elsewhere, but who can say whether Wordpress or any other blogging platform is innately less vulnerable to foul-ups like this? The past day should inspire cautionary tales instead of comparison shopping. I've been reluctant to transfer much of my business online because I retain a somewhat technophobic fear that anything stored electronically can be hacked or simply lost. Blogging is a low-stakes operation by comparison, and still has great potential politically as a communications tool, but it's all dependent upon an infrastructure that can't be taken for granted. If we believe in democracy, we all eventually have to deal with neighbors and fellow citizens who won't be part of our little affinity networks. Blogger's misadventure is a warning that at some point, and perhaps inevitably, we won't be able to choose to whom we want to speak, or whom we want to hear. The blogosphere may go away, but those other people won't. So if we can't correspond with exactly whom we want to, will we be silent instead?