Those new to Talker may not know the magazine is a continuation of my time as a Democrat and Chronicle blogger from February 2013 – September 2015 on the “Make City Schools Better,” Unite Rochester,” and “Editorial Board” blogs — 196 posts in all.
Way back in February 2013, I actually lived in healthy ignorance of blogging and much of social media. My facebook page was mostly dormant. Terms like Likes, Shares, Mentions, Tags were marginally meaningful. No twitter.
As a D & C blogger, I began slowly, writing my first post when our editor James Lawrence — he in search of free content — gently nudged our tardy “Make City Schools Better” cohort. Like any mania, my blogging began innocuously enough, with only a post now and again. But then I bought a nifty canon camera to enhance my posts with high quality pics. Looking back, that camera was a digital gateway drug as I soon learned how to add video and other media to posts that — byte by byte — increased in frequency.
By the spring and summer of 2015, the grip tightened. Posting became daily and I sought out more intense blogging highs. Back then the D & C would print selected posts as Blogitorials, Cyberquotes and even prominently on the Editorial Page (back when the D & C had a daily editorial page.) One week that summer I swept all three. Ecstasy. SEE For you, Talker buys the D & C digital archives. And Noam Chomsky
My tenure at the D & C ended and so began Talker. And by now I am — perhaps like you, dear reader — a digital junkie.
The point of this story is to relate what happened a few weeks ago, something every digital junkie dreads and has suffered: data loss.
When we developed Talker, we used text and pics from the D & C posts, editing them and transferring them into our wordpress program. Easy enough. But then a few months ago, I went to an older post and discovered the D & C photos had disappeared. Not just on that post but on all 196 posts!
Panicked, I called D & C tech support. Quite a while back, the D & C had changed servers and my pics were in the old server that was taken down. Thankfully, they were able to restore the images in which I got this note:
You’ll be happy to hear the blogs and images are back. Though we highly recommend you save the images you need and host them on your site in case in the future the servers are taken down permanently.
If only I had heeded that advice. Wishfully, I imagined the images would be there in perpetuity so I only fixed a few articles. But those words “taken down permanently” disturbed my dreams. And, of course, it happened just recently. I pleaded for restoration of the images to no avail, getting this message:
We put the best and the brightest on the case, but unfortunately, blogs were identified as a security risk to our server due to frequent hacks and bugs in the system. As a result, we were required to deactivate accounts and shutdown the server.
However, you still can access published posts at the link below and copy and save the content, though we are unable to assist with anything that disappeared. http://www.democratandchronicle.com/staff/3727/david-kramer/
The point of his story is that many of the photos from past stories are gone. The task of replicating them is herculean. I won’t bore you with the details, but when you encounter missing photos and links, think kindly upon our plight.
There is a silver lining to this story. I discovered I was not the only person to experience the data loss. Recently, I reconnected with a fellow former D & C blogger, David Grome.
In 2013, David served as a blogger and adviser to the Democrat and Chronicle Editorial Board on issues related to race, poverty, education and economic development. After David’s tenure at the D & C ended, he started Common Wealth, an online publication that “combines his interest in public policy, civic engagement and politics with his professional experience as a communications and business strategist.” As D & C readers know, David is a first rate writer whose range runs from the personal to the political — capturing his now hometown from multiple vistas.
The other day, we met up at the 12 Corners Starbucks. Although his blog references his thirty-four D & C posts, David was far more accepting of the data loss than I. He said the “loss” was actually a cathartic experience. David looked back at articles as a different point in his life when he was thinking differently. While he did note in Common Wealth:
In 2017, Democrat and Chronicle updated its server and links to archived blog content are no longer available. Below are a list of article titles and their publication date.
David takes a very zen approach to the lost articles. That was then, this is now.
I admire David’s attitude. But fear I am still a digital junkie who will try to recapitulate every lost photo. So bear with us even as we try to look upon those lost photos as zen castles on the beach.
POSTSCRIPT: David kindly added this to my facebook page:
Last week, David Kramer opened up about the loss of archived photos from a now defunct Democrat and Chronicle server. For me, the discarded content allowed me to cut loose from my community board past — a time when my perspective, identity, and outlook lacked the same level of development I enjoy today.
However, for David Kramer, the abandoned D&C archive severed deeper ties with a time of personal excitement and entrepreneurial spirit. I hope David can transform the energy associated with his loss into a motivational force to progress Talker of the Town for years to come. In the meantime, check out David’s experience in his own words: