Post-385: Yahoo Mail deletion and Internet Ephemerality

This was a surprise.

When I created this blog in 2013, I created a new Yahoo email account specifically for the blog so as to maintain some degree of separation from my main email. I logged into it today. I was surprised and somewhat dismayed by what I found, which was Nothing. That is to say, everything was gone. Every single email sent and email received, gone; the drafts folder, empty; spam, trash, everything was deleted.

Right when I logged on, a brief message said something ridiculous like “Emails in accounts subject to inactivity will be deleted.” I think I last logged in in September 2019…

Thankfully I didn’t have much important on there. In the heyday of this blog a few people would send replies to that email, so those are gone. A few people contacted me via that email having read something on the blog, one I recall was on advice on hiking the Baekdu-Daegan cross-country mountain trail in South Korea.

As data losses go, this is not a big one, but is one of those periodic reminders of how ephemeral all Internet content really is.

Maybe it’s ironic that the Internet is so ephemeral, but an observed fact in my life. A huge majority of words I have ever typed are gone forever.

I still remember the sudden loss of all my KakaoTalk archives from a period of over three years in Korea, a punch in the gut given that it doubled as a kind of daily diary and record of what I was doing/saying for all that time. I even had a chatroom with myself (a feature they introduced about 2016, I think) where I jotted down notes or daily spending. The sudden and total deletion of my entire KakaoTalk archive was because of some trivial phone number adjustment thing. No warning, just a total deletion. I tried band inquired but there was no way to recover it.

As someone (Anne R.) said to me recently, “If it’s not printed out, it doesn’t exist.”


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