Social Bookmarking site Ma.gnolia experienced a disastrous database corruption which has brought the site down. On February 17, Ma.gnolia owner Larry Halff announced that the data could not be recovered. He answered some interesting questions about Ma.gnolia and cloud computing services in general in this interview. It is long, but I really think the video is worth watching.
I appreciate Mr. Halff’s candor. There are a lot of lessons to be learned here. The first of which is entities on the web might not be what they seem.
On the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog. It is easy and tempting to project an image of being an being a greater entity than a company really is. I got started with working with the web in collaboration with an Australian tie-dyer who was obsessed with keeping the world from knowing that his apparel firm was a three person drop ship operation consisting of him, my wife, and me. It made me uncomfortable then and skeptical now. As pointed out in the interview, there are probably countless other web services that are as small and as shaky as Ma.gnolia.
This leads to the inevitable conclusion that our data in these cloud Social Networking Apps may be considerably more vulnerable than we can imagine. We need ways to backup our important data housed by these services. I have found some leads in this area and I am actively pursuing them. I hope to report some possible solutions in the near future.