Take responsibility for your archives

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Artists and professionals alike need to back up their data. They should also have backups of their backs, and maybe even backups of those backups.

News broke this week that MySpace, the once-thriving social network, lost a dozen years worth of media due to an error that occurred during a server migration. Though specific numbers are not available, many believe over 50 million songs were lost due to this error, as well as countless photographs and videos.

The news of MySpace losing this data serves as a powerful reminder of the need to maintain personal backups of all important information. As hard as it may be to believe at this time, the likelihood that something similar happens on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram is pretty high. There is also a good chance any blog post you’ve created will one day disappear. Hosting costs money, and even if you can afford your site there are countless ways your data could be lost.

If something is important, you need to take responsibility for preserving it.

Maybe you don’t care about remembering everything you did, but you should be concerned with your ability to prove your level of experience. That is why maintaining a personal archive of accomplishments and passion projects is so immensely important to your professional development. You have to be able to show your work, not to mention your talent, on a moment’s notice. Relying on someone or something else to track your activity is lazy and foolish. Others may benefit from your work, but at the end of the day your work is and always will be most valuable to you. Don’t take it for granted.

There is a market for this kind of thing. Over the last several years some companies have begun promoting tools and services designed to preserve digital content for future use/reference. These businesses may be tremendous and well-intentioned, but they are still an outsider to your personal journey. Use them if you like, but you should also keep offline archives as well. Save each story, song, video, photo, or accomplishment that matters to your own device, as well as an external storage device, just so that it exists regardless of what happens online. The internet is unpredictable, as is all technology, so you need to go to great lengths to ensure the continued existence of your creative output.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.