Why I expire posts

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One thing that tripped my anxiety upon entering the world of publishing was the marketing. Now, I know this is something creative people either consider necessary or a “necessary evil”. I tend to have one foot in each camp and shift my weight depending on the circumstances.

There’s a nice way to go about promoting your work, and then there’s a gross way.

And there’s also nice ways that can become gross over time in the same way that well-intentioned actions can have unintended consequences.

Death by data

In recent years, someone pointed out to me that as we go about our daily online lives, we’re generating reams and reams of data that don’t just disappear once we’re done with it. This was no surprise. It’s something I knew back from when I dabbled in website server admin — if you let your server logs build up for long enough, eventually they take up all the space on the hard drive and sometimes your website crashes.

But it’s not something I’d thought about much in the context of servers I weren’t managing myself. The thing is, maybe it’s something we could all do with thinking about — the same way it might be responsible to think about how much trash we throw out and how much food we waste.

But yes, back to book marketing

I’m not against cover reveals, launch day book blasts, social media parties and all that. They’re the kinds of things that bring people together, create excitement, inject some colour into the busy stressed-out lives we live.

They serve a purpose in the moment, sometimes a brilliant purpose of giving people genuine joy and community.

What worries me is what happens when that moment has passed. When all of those discarded social media and blog posts hang around for years after, like plastic cutlery left by irresponsible picnic-goers.

It’s not the same, but also, it kind of is the same. All this content, en masse, takes up space on data centres around the world. Data centres whose facilities keep chugging away just to stash forgotten content.

What a way to turn a nice thing gross.

No longer being on Facebook and Instagram left me with plenty of time to think about what I could do to take some weight off the problem. I mean, just getting rid of my accounts and data from those platforms meant I would no longer be generating ephemeral plastic cutlery on those servers, so that’s a start.

But as an author who keeps a blog, is there anything else I could to have an (albeit small) impact? Perhaps, yes: deleting old posts.

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