July 16, 2009

post #700 - do you print your blog?

A dear friend of mine is in the genealogy business. She seems to do a lot of historical research and speaking (though I'm unclear on the revenue part of this gig). She recently raised a question for bloggers: Do you ever print your blog, just to have a "permanent" archive?

As this is my blog's 700th post (and I'm less than a month from my five-year blogiversary), the topic seems timely.

I always thought printing a blog would be missing the point. Won't Blogger be around for ever? Can't I export the file to XML and put it on a CD? Save trees!

But what if the unthinkable happens, and Blogger goes away one day? What if my archive CD gets scratched or simply degrades, as CDs are wont to do over time? Or what if formats pass us by, and my archive CD is no longer readable by new technology?

I wrote a story, I think it was a pretty good one, in college. I used my girlfriend's Mac, which was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. It was one of the originals (later to be renamed "Mac Classic"), way cooler than my Apple ][+. So anyway, I saved my story to a 3.5" floppy disk. I still have that disk, but I no longer have any disk drives. And I never printed the story. Lost? Maybe, maybe not. Worth the work and expense to recover? Maybe, maybe not.

At some point, CD drives will be replaced by something cooler. Nanotechnology is already producing some wild stuff. You'll get the cool new thing, then for a while you'll forget to migrate all your archived work, and one day you'll find you no longer have any equipment that can read your archive CDs that are stored in the garage, behind the carton of photos from the 1980s that you've been meaning to scrapbook.

But printed matter is always human-readable.

So what do you think? Should we periodically take our whole blog and lulu.com it into a type of journal? It would only be a few bucks; it would only take up a few inches of bookshelf space. But it would be permanent (barring flood, fire, etc.). Future anthropologists, biographers, and whatever it is my friend does would thank us. Maybe.


Blogless Troll said...

Even if you print it, in a few thousand years it'll still turn to dust so what's the point?

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Ah the wisdom that is my blog! Do future generations want to read about my kids bodily functions? Actually, my kids will probably want to read it, so for that reason alone, I should probably print at least all my highlights.

Good idea Pete!

And woo hoo on the 5 year and 700 posts!!!!

writtenwyrdd said...

Interesting idea, Peter. I just (as in yesterday) saved all my blog posts by monthly archive, but only as Firefox pages. I don't have the posts themselves saved. And neither manner of archive saves the comments unless you save each post individually.

I think I might make a project of that, just to keep a CD archive for future reference. Probably a waste of time, but it will save the links for me.

Precie said...

Dude, as if I needed more issues?

Crap. I've kept private blogs for 1) my son's first year, 2) pregnancy, 3) TTC (trying to conceive). I haven't stored any of them outside of Blogger. Shit. I have to go get a box of paper...and probably a new printer.

Robin B. said...

Uh oh. I hadn't thought about this and worried about this before...

JaneyV said...

It's a good idea. I like the idea of having it bound too. But seriously someone would have to ut more hours in the day!

Congrats on 700 fabulous posts.

JaneyV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McKoala said...

I'm not sure my blog needs a wider readership. I like to protect as much of the population from my wittering as possible.

But I'll worry about it now anyway...

Jinksy said...

I favour the printed word... much easier to flick through pages than to click a mouse insanely - or inanely...
PS - loved the way you got the exact message of my Enigma poem! :)

Sarah Laurenson said...

Once, a long time ago, companies kept their computer punch cards just in case the new-fangled technology of personal computers wasn't a good idea after all. This was their backup and often took up an entire room in the business.

Did not need 100 years to turn to dust, oh BT. And the mice liked them, too.

I tend to write my blog posts in Word and then transfer them to my blog. I just have to change the quotes on links when I transfer them. I have most of them saved that way. And I have a backup external hard drive on my laptop. My writing is on my laptop, the external hard drive and my computer at work. Only some of it is on paper.

Congrats on longevity!

Chris Eldin said...

Interesting thought!!

Since most of my stuff is either:
1) copied and pasted from other people's blogs
2) general conversation

The stuff I have isn't worthy. But for you, with your haikus, I can see the value.

PJD said...

Troll: Right you are. My attempts at outsmarting mortality are foiled once more.

Ello: Yes, yes, everyone wants to read the wisdom that is your blog! The Tao Te Ching started off essentially the same way, I'm told.

WW: definitely a CD archive is a must, even though in 10 years it might not be usable...

Precie: Sorry to add one more item to your list. :-) You can probably at least store your blog off line electronically...

Robin: You should definitely archive your posts. They are real gems.

Jane: Yeah, more hours in the day. That's what coffee is for, right?

McK: LOL. But the "wider readership" may be someone two hundred years from now with a keen interest in Scottish/Aussie heritage, and they'll be intrigued by your posts. Best to preserve them, if only as a prank. :-)

jinksy: Thanks for dropping by! I did like your Enigma poem. I'll see if I can toddle off to your blog soon.

Sarah: Ha ha ha about the mice and the punch cards. (Hmm, Mouse and the Punch Cards might be a good name for an indie rock band.) Composing in Word is a good idea. I like to compose directly in blogger, though, even though the window is small and not that easy to use.

Chris: Aww, saying my haikus are worthy? You are sweet! The trick of course will be in making sure I don't commit something to print that I now think is incredibly stupid. I have written a lot of that kind of thing.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've often thought about this very question. What I'm thinking about doing is using my Adobe InDesign CS4 program to download all my blogger text files and photographs, that way I could save it as a PDF file and print in book form. I know it seems a bit excessive but I'll probably do it.

rebecca said...

I always keep meaning to do this and somehow never get around. I wouldn't go so far to print every single post I've written on my blog, but would certainly save/print those which I would want to safekeep.

Thanks for this. I've already made a note to self to follow up on this :)

Laurel said...


No. Uh-Uh. No way. Not gonna do it. All I need is one more portable file box o' crap to lug around next time I move. I'll archive anything marginally interesting on a file sharing site.

Plus I have actually survived a house fire and have little faith in paper anyway.

Felicitations on your most impressive 700th post!


PJD said...

JR: That's what I'm thinking of, in one form or another. POD is so easy now, and you don't actually need to "publish" something in order to have a printed, bound copy.

rebecca: Yeah, note to self. :-) I figure if I ever do this, I will do ALL my posts because it's too onerous to think about picking and choosing.

Laurel: Yeah, another box of stuff to move or store. Good point about the fire, too. This isn't the type of thing you'd put in a fire-proof box, is it?

Aniket Thakkar said...

700 posts! Sweettt!

Am still at 70.
As soon as I'm done with 100 stories that I like. I'll get them printed. There are sites that get them printed as novels.

I'm all in to save trees. But you got to admit the touch, feel and smell of a virgin book is too ecstatic. e-book could never match up to them.

And I would then name myself the almighty ruler of the whole wide world and preserve that book in super thick extra solid metal container and burry it deep down in the earth. So that later when the world is destroyed and aliens take over. Someone would find that book decipher it and I since there would be no one else to prove me wrong I shall go down in alien history as the greatest ruler in Earths history. Mwuhahahahahaha!!!!

Victory shall be mine!

Laurel said...

Aniket, your wicked plan for infamy could just work!

And no, Pete, my blog does not merit a fireproof box. I'll save that for things like birth certificates of los bambinos and the first copy of any work I manage to get printed. You know, by someone else. The cookbook I put together for my husband's birthday doesn't count.

Laurel said...

Is it okay that I just called you Pete?

PJD said...

Aniket: Your time capsule idea to ensure your immortality (as opposed to immorality) is brilliant. But of course, when the Aliens arrive their first question will be "who f***ed up this planet anyway?" When they find your box with the book in it and see that you were the supreme ruler... well... you see where I'm going with this.

Laurel: I would think a cookbook is the perfect type of thing to be kept in a fireproof box. And yes, you can call me Pete or Peter or whatever you like.

Aniket Thakkar said...

Ahh... the glitch in the plan. Hmmm.. Okay lets modify it a bit.

I'll say that Earth was being ruled by an evl attrocious Queen, um lets call her Aerin (Tee Hee) and then came Aniket, the saviour of mankind who led the greatest rebellion of all times to overthrow the Queen and save the masses.And he died after removing the Queen, in a heroic attempt.

That way they can blame the state of earth and its sure shot destruction on the people who ruled later and I shall be immortalized as the greatest hero.

Wait a sec. I don't like being a hero. I like being evil. Damn. Will have to re-write history again...

Wendy said...

I don't consider my blog to have lasting value, but I *do* think it has value to my family. Just like any diary would. So, yes, I think people should definitely print their blogs out, at least for their kids if they have them.

I have a small diary from my great grandmother. It's tiny like a little memo pad but it gives a chronicle of life events in very brief form and notes things that were important to her that were going on around her. It's not riveting, but a fascinating personal window into the past and I adore it with all my heart.

I would have loved to have something like my printed blog from my other family members if such a thing existed back then.