I know, that’s a, uh, GRAVE topic, but it’s something worth thinking about, especially if your blog is important to you, and even more so if it’s your source of income.
For me, my intentions for my blog were very clear from the beginning. It wasn’t to make money out of it or to be the next internet sensation. In my very first post in this blog, I wrote:
“It’s a life project. I want to grow with it and I want it to grow with me.”
I also wrote that I wanted to write posts that: “…will entertain, educate, empathize, energize, and encourage, even months or years after they have been written.”
A lot of my life events are documented in my blog. But the question is: what happens to these documented life events when I am no longer alive? Another question is: What do I want to happen to my online diary, my happy place in cyberspace?
Mike and I were discussing this this afternoon, and he asked me: “Why should you care what happens to it after you die? You’re dead!”
Good point. But I like to look at my blog as a repository of my life and thoughts, and particularly, my life and thoughts that have to do with loved ones. This is where I tell stories of my travels and adventures with my husband, or the time when my friends and family made me feel loved on my birthday(s). This is where I open up and somehow inspire other people too, even people who I’ve never met. So maybe that’s why I care NOW about what happens to it LATER.
Why I Would Want My Blog To Outlive Me
Is pondering on my digital afterlife an ego thing? Is it about leaving a legacy? It sounds like that, but it’s not. I’m not famous or anything, and I don’t have thousands of followers who will miss reading my blogs when I’m gone. BUT… here are three reasons why I would want my blog to outlive me:
- I could help people.
Once in a while, there would be some people who tell me that – unbeknownst to me – actually read what I write and find them informative or helpful. Someone I know who was devastated after a breakup read one of my posts and said “After I read that, I felt lighter. It really helped me a lot. I don’t even cry anymore. Whenever I feel sad, I just read that post and I feel better.” She then passed it on to another friend who was feeling down, and that person also found solace in my post. So, like I said, I’m not famous or anything, and I don’t have thousands of followers, but if my posts could even help just ONE person, then that’s more than enough for me. Sometimes, when I’m confused, sad, or lost, I also find comfort in reading other people’s blog posts. It makes me feel like I’m not alone and I’m not the only one in the world who feels that way.
- I want to “live” forever for my children… and if I’m lucky, for my grandchildren and great grandchildren too.
One day, I’ll kick the bucket, but I hope that I will still be “around” for the loved ones I’ll leave behind. Sometimes, I happen to see my departed grandmother’s photos and Facebook account (yes, she had one. She was cool!) and even though she’s gone, having a small part of her that still lives on reminds me of how wonderful she was when she was still on earth. When I am gone, I would (ideally) want my family to read my posts whenever they want to connect with me or remember me. I’d want them to sort of “hear” my voice and “listen” to my stories. My very first blog in 2004, which was with Livejournal (this reveals a lot about my age. Haha!) was entitled “Lola Mo” (“Your Grandmother”) because even back then, I was already thinking of the stories I wanted to tell my grandchildren!
- I worked hard on this.
This is the least important reason, but still a valid one. When I’m six feet under, this won’t matter. But now, knowing that I really invested a lot of time, money, and energy into this, it’s only natural for me to want it to live on.
I chatted with a Customer Service Representative from my website host and asked the exact same question I asked here: “What happens to my blog after I die?” I couldn’t see her, but I could tell from her responses and the long pauses in between her responses that there was a lot of awkwardness there. She probably even thought that I was about to commit suicide. Haha! She said that if I want my site to be up even after I’m gone, someone has to pay the annual hosting fees. Otherwise, it would be taken down. She also apologized and said “I don’t often get asked this question.” I bet! And I bet that not a lot of bloggers think about this too. After all, who wants to think about death… especially if it’s their own death?!
Options for my blog:
So now that I have thought about it, as morbid as it sounds, I have considered the following options:
- Let it live
My current blog is a self-hosted one, that is, every year, I pay for the domain name and website hosting where all my data are stored. If I really want to make it immortal (at least for a number of years after I’m gone), I need to set aside some money to make sure that the web hosting fees and maintenance costs are covered, and I also need to appoint someone who will take care of this for me.
P.S. This one blogger named Mac Tonnies is a lucky guy. He died at the young age of 34. As a memorial, someone (a very dedicated reader) loved him enough to kept his blog alive for him: http://posthumanblues.com/postposthuman.html.
- Switch to a free platform
I used to blog on free platforms, namely Blogger / Blogspot and WordPress.com, until I felt that it was a little too limiting. I wanted more creative freedom, hence, I switched to a self-hosted blog. Now, I am considering moving back. There are many pros and cons of using free platforms, but for me, these are the most important things to think about:
- Free! I can save money!
- There is a chance that my blog could live forever.
- There’s also a chance that it won’t live forever. Blogger / Blogspot or WordPress can delete your blog anytime without even warning you or explaining why they deleted it. They don’t owe you an explanation. Technically, you don’t own any of your content. They do. And they can do whatever they want with it. It has happened to other people before, and that is a scary thing… to wake up one day and find that the blog you worked so hard for just vanished!
- As mentioned, it’s too limiting in terms of storage, design, etc.
- They could shut down anytime. (e.g. What happened to Orkut and Google Reader?)
- Turn it into something else
Some people had their blogs made into books, while some just stored copies as Word files in their computer for their family members to read later.
- Kill it
Probably the easiest option of all is letting my blog die with me! When the universe pulls the plug on my life, my digital executor could just pull the plug on my blog too. Maybe I will stop caring. Like what Mike said: “The only thing I’ll care about when I die is my family, and if they will be okay.”
At this point, I still don’t know what I want to do about my blog should I (knock on wood) cross the great divide. I just know that I wouldn’t want to burden my loved ones too much with it. Maybe one day, I’ll know what fate I would want for my blog. Or maybe, if I’m fortunate enough to live until I’m 90, I wouldn’t even have to think about it because the technology then would be so advanced… or maybe by that time, blogging will be dead too that it won’t even matter what happens to my blog!
For now… remember this:
Do you own a blog? Have you thought about what you want to happen to it when you’re gone?