On successor states and websites
This piece by Dr Eleanor Janega on successor states and websites is so damn good it hurts. She compares the “fall” of Rome to what’s happening to the social network that’s now nothing more than a bunch of thugs in a trench coat:
We are living through a tiny little change in a form of communication, but it can help us understand how larger systems fail. It can also help us to understand how these failures effect regular people who are just trying to go about their daily life. It can also help us learn about how source survival fails at times like this. When people decide to “shake things up” and break a system, you can lose all of the information that they were storing very quickly. This goes for people who get annoyed and delete their twitter accounts just as much as if the whole thing just falls over one day and we lose the records of it. All it takes is one jerk and suddenly a thousand years from now they’ll say you were living through a Dark Age.
I haven’t read anything by Dr Janega before but her writing is immediately good and feathery light, so now I’m off to rummage through the archives of her work and pick up her book.