Self-destructing website is a time capsule of pandemic messages

Brittany A. Roston - Jun 20, 2021, 10:21am CDT
Self-destructing website is a time capsule of pandemic messages

A little more than a year ago, a website was launched that is designed to self-destruct if it doesn’t get at least one message in a 24-hour period. Anyone can leave a message on the website, which has spent its entire life operating during a very unique moment in time: the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. As the world slowly returns to normal, the website has become something like a time capsule of what the public was thinking during their months in isolation.

The website, which is appropriately called ‘This Website Will Self-Destruct,’ launched in April 2020 only weeks after the pandemic was announced. Many places were experiencing full lockdowns, the public was under the stress of uncertainty about how long the situation would last, and reports of depression and loneliness were rapidly climbing.

The website allows anyone to leave a short message, which will randomly be found and read by other people who click the ‘Read’ button. The website will live on for however long it continues to receive messages. Once attention dwindles and the messages finally dry up, the website will shut down.

The site’s launch date and simple design made it a perfect way to record snapshots of what people around the world were thinking during the pandemic. A journey through random messages left over the past year reveals concerns about how the virus may impact key aspects of life: health, job security, finances, and relationships. Snippets of loneliness are interspersed with messages of hope and encouragement.

There are no signs of interest in the website slowing down, so it’s likely to remain live for the remainder of the pandemic. Experts expect that the pandemic will come to an end in stages, with developed nations returning to ‘normal’ before poorer countries. Assuming everything goes as planned, the pandemic may be fully over worldwide by the end of next year.


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