Just over a year ago, I began a second blog at a site called JournalSpace. The reason was because a girl at my work blogged there, and was part of John Birmingham's online "Cheeseburger Gothic" community. It was essentially a mirror site for me, as I mostly reposted articles from this, my first and truly beloved blog site.
Joining gave me the chance to be a part of JB's excellent little circle of like-minded individuals - there were great discussions and comment threads, and JB often posted fascinating stories about the publishing world and life as a writer. There was the odd flamer and nutcase follower, but for the most part, it was everything that's good about the internet (porn aside, obviously).
But last week, the system crashed, and after sending their drives to a recovery service, it appears something irreversible's happened, and there's no data left. At all. Everything's gone.
Journalspace is no more.
It hasn't been a major hassle for me, as Blogger is my first home. However, many people lost dozens of great articles, posts and comments. Worse than that, they lost the community that had been established, and are now scrambling to piece that back together. For writers like John Birmingham, whose online presence has become a big part of his professional life, it's a double blow.
Having said that, I've spent the past hour or so tracking down some of the J-Space "refugees" - as most have gone and started up Blogger or Wordpress blogs in the wake of J-Space's fiery implosion. John himself has established a dedicated Cheeseburger Gothic site. I have no doubt the community will reassert itself, even though it will probably never be exactly the same.
If anyone reading this is an ex-Journalspacer - welcome! I hope you check back in often, and let me know where your new online home is, so I can come and visit. I'll bring a welcome basket, I promise.
It's also made me think a lot more about backing up some of my better posts from this site - please let me know if you know how best to do that!