RIP J. Kelly Nestruck (circa 1997-1998)
A couple of weekends ago, I was at a seminar on blogging and journalism that turned into a discussion of how technology can lead to fragmentation of identity: how the Internet allows for the existence of multiple yous.
The idea, over-simplified, is that while online you might be very outspoken, the offline you may be very shy. And on different websites and message boards you may assume different permutations of your online identity. (Just as offline you may act differently at work, with your family and with friends.)
But the Internet not only allows multiple current yous to exist, it also keeps all previous yous online as well. Everything you said or did on the Internet five years ago is still there to discover today... (Even if it's been deleted, it is likely stored in the Internet archive.)
Sometimes the past yous can be quite embarassing to your current you.
For the last couple of years, I have been trying to delete a webpage that I created during high school: Kelly's Pointless Homepage (KPH). I was tired of it coming up first or second when you searched for me on Google. When someone on Frank Magazine's message boards linked to it this summer, I became even more irritated by KPH's continued existence.
The reason the site was so hard to get rid of was that I could not remember my username or password, and the e-mail address I used back then was with a company that has gone out of business... Geocities wouldn't delete it without that information.
Finally, earlier this week, I sent an e-mail to Yahoo! Geocities saying that they were keeping up my copyrighted material without my consent and demanding that the site be taken down. It worked.
Now that Kelly's Pointless Homepage is gone, however, I'm surprised to feel a bit sad about the whole thing... I killed my sixteen-year-old self today.
Ah! But there's always Google's Cache!
And so, I can still visit my old splash page, which declared "Now with even more nudity!" (The pimply pictures of me in my high school uniform are gone, though.)
Visiting the Google archive of my guestbook, I see that on November 16, 1997, Julia G. left a message: "nice page. Cheese is the best food on earth! E-mail me eh!" (I met Julia in Winnipeg the summer before Grade 11. I was her first kiss. She introduced me to Radiohead.)
The rest of KPH's content isn't in cache, unfortunately... I guess my list of "25 things that really annoy me" has disappeared forever now. (That list, I recall, included "sexy lesbians" and "flashing text on the internet".)
What were you like when you were 16? Where did that person go?
"Sorry, the page you requested was not found."