As one of the people who posted on ‘This Website Will Self Destruct’ suggests everything is temporary if you adjust the scale enough, but this particular website is more temporary than most. Following in the footsteps of such great internet phenomena as the Reddit button, a programmer somewhere has created a website that has exactly 24 hours to live. The website is only one page consisting of a simple countdown clock and a button. If the countdown ever reaches zero, the website will disappear and take all of its content with it. However, users can write and post letters on the platform and, whenever a letter is posted, the doomsday clock resets. It is a very simple premise, but one that has caught on incredibly fast in a now less fast-paced world, where everyone is in quarantine with more time on their hands. The website now contains thousands of messages at least, and nobody really knows for sure how many have been submitted. Upon arriving at the website that will self-destruct, you can either write a message or read a message.
Clicking “read a message” presents you with a random letter sent to the website, all of which are completely anonymous. Click again and you can read a different message. As cool as it is to post a simple message and see the countdown clock reset, giving the website a few more hours of life, it can be even more interesting to just scroll through the messages and see what others have to say. Browsing through ‘This Website Will Self Destruct’ is like getting a little peek into the wider perspective of human experience at large, finding a connection, however small, with another person out there somewhere. Indeed, ‘This Website Will Self Destruct’ is a global phenomenon. While most of the messages are English, there are also some in Chinese, Spanish, French, Arabic, and a dozen other languages.
Perhaps the most wonderful part of ‘This Website Will Self Destruct’ is the kindness that anonymity seems to bring out in its visitors. Sure, many of the messages are declarations of depression and loneliness, but many more are inspirational messages of encouragement to the website, and by extension to other readers. For example, one poster writes, “Dear Website, Problems only exist inside your mind. Stay strong.” While another comments, “Dear Website, This too shall pass. Just hang in there… Lots of Love.” For an anonymous internet message board, it is a surprisingly heartwarming and encouraging place to be. So if you are feeling down, go help this website exist for just a little bit longer.