The Internet Never Forgets

I started this blog in 2010, with the intent of writing about project management. My original idea, which has somehow survived, was to post a weekly round-up of news items, blog posts, and other content, and then write about other stuff as it came up. My first weekly round-up had nine items; these days, I cap it at 25, and rarely have fewer than that. But back then, I was still discovering sources of content, and it was a struggle. While assembling content for that first curated post, I read that the news that Rita Mulcahy had passed away.

Rita MulcahyIf you’ve ever studied for the Project Management Professional exam, you’ve probably heard of Rita. Her PMP study guide, now updated by the staff of the training firm she founded, remains one of the most widely used. So I wrote a brief obituary, and posted it on July 10, 2010. It was the first post on my new blog, so I doubt it got very many views in that first month. But the internet never forgets.

All of those blog posts, and comments, and pictures, and links, and diagrams on my blog have been indexed by “spiders” from the major search engines. And so far this year, my little obituary has been read 150 times. More than four years after her death, Rita still gets Googled, and some of those searchers find my old article. I hope that what I wrote helped them understand the lady, because I think she was fascinating. Since then, I’ve written obituaries for a former colleague, Jay Dawson, as well as Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie. They get a few reads from time to time, as well.

Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press based on movable type around 1439. No one know how many books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazine, and other writings have been printed since then, but most of them have been lost. Paper fades, crumbles, and burns. Some day, even the most intensely maintained of Leonardo DaVinci’s works will fade. But the digital images of those masterpieces will remain. EMC estimates that the content on the internet doubles in size every two years. By 2020, they project that the digital universe will comprise 44 trillion gigabytes. Thus, people will be able to read the text of authors, great and wretched, posted on line until the end of civilization. So be fastidious about what you write and how you say it: more so than in any time in human history, we write for the ages.

The internet never forgets. And so, we can remember. Peace be with you.

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About Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a project manager with over twenty five years of experience in implementing human capital management and payroll systems, including SaaS solutions like Workday and premises-based ERP solutions like PeopleSoft and ADP Enterprise. He has an MS in IT with a concentration in project management, and a BS in Business. In addition to his articles and blog posts, he curates a weekly roundup of articles on project management, and he has authored or contributed to several books on project management.