The Art of Sustaining a Still Popular Website in an Age of Social Media

Conclusion: What Does Sustainability Mean not only at

This is the final episode.
To read the essay from the beginning, click here.

What does internet sustainability mean? What is required to sustain an internet site? For one’s site to simply remain existing, above the dark-web underground?

I identify four necessary components to internet sustainability: first, hosting– the server, which can be thought of as the hardware any site perches upon. Then, secondly, retaining the unique URL– the written address appearing in the bar up top your screen. However, both these could be achieved with a free blog account. Third of all, some amount of content, something appearing in the body of the site, either pre-existing or scheduled fresh material. And, fourthly, a site staff to update the systems, perhaps monitor comments, and to post that new material if you have it.

At , we employed an entirely volunteer site staff for six-and-a-half years– including our first two years at a different URL. This included design and development, monitoring and content posting, all submitters, and without adds or donations.

The Summer of 2013 was when we first offered prizes for our two annual fiction contests– $75 for each Grand Prize, and $60, total, for runners-up. In the second round of our contests, in 2014, we began compensating our Judging panel. Then we occasionally would commission work for publication on-site. All this brings in an annual budget under $600. I’ll absorb that to advantage humanity until I turn blue, and at least a few years after that.

If retention of readership is the goal– not marketing or income, not publishing the next best seller, or chasing some moment of briefest fame– sustainability becomes equally the goal. Short of the demise of the entire internet, the four components just mentioned can be achieved with two things: an annual budget ranging from less than $75 to less than $150– though, again, with a blog account this can be free. And– far more importantly– future generations of site staff interested in continuing the project.

But are such attempts at sustainability themselves sustainable on the widest scope imaginable?– 400 years?– 700 years? 2,179? 200,000? Will last as long as Shakespeare has dominated, as long as Dante has inspired, or the Dead Sea Scrolls have survived? As long as Humanity itself so far has? I believe it will.

Physically, there is no reason the internet will not exist long after our Sun has exploded and become a floating ember. We can always make more plastic– though we can never get rid of it.

Technologically, we have all we need to sustain some form of the internet as long as Earth supports life, but only that long. Unless we find some way off her.

In a Marxist sense, as long as there is 3rd stage Capitalism, there will be the internet. If another economic system manifests itself– and regression to Tribalism due to climate depletion does not seem unlikely– we would find out then what happens to the internet.

But I do believe our internet will sustain.

For I believe deeply in what Faulkner said, accepting his Nobel Prize.

“Man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance”

He said that in 1949, at the up-ticking of the Cold War, in the throws of the nuclear arms race. Say what you will about Environmental catastrophe, nothing would destroy the internet as thoroughly as a Plutonium explosion.

Sites with aspirations similar to our’s still remain on the internet: check . We don’t want your money; our overhead is minimal. We don’t need your shares; we bring in our own traffic. We don’t care about your likes, retweets, or up-votes in any other form or forum; we have– at least I have– plenty of confidence in our quality without your approval. We don’t even want your email addresses; if you enjoy what only we have, you’ll come back without our insistence.

All we want?– to stay right here. Sustainability.

Then you’ll always have a place to come back to.

Bonafides/ home
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