Digitial Degradation

There’s something about digital media that’s quite unique: it doesn’t degrade. Sure, things break and you can’t open them anymore. For the things you can open, though, there’s no sense of degradation or weathering.

A webpage looks the very same the day it was created as the day it’s read. It might be 5 days later, or 5 years, 5 people might have read it or 500, it doesn’t matter. The page itself looks exactly the same. It doesn’t degrade in any way.

There’s a word we have for this effect of time, weather, and handling on physical objects: patina. What’s a digital patina like?