A Tribute To The Departing Windows Live Spaces

Tomorrow, it’s all over.  What began in 2004 comes to a surprising end in 2011.

What am I talking about?  The end of Windows Live Spaces.

Late last September, Spaces users signed into their sites and found an interesting message.  Microsoft was planning to shut them all down.

That was the bad news.  As it turns out, there was good news, as well.  Spaces users had nearly six months to decide if they wanted to continue sharing cute pictures of their kitties and blog about their daily lives to the global village.  How was this possible?  By joining WordPress.

In early October, when I learned of Microsoft’s plan, I rejoiced.  I was coming out of a dismal period of inactivity and needed something, anything to reignite the spark I initially felt for blogging way back in 2006.  A move to a new location was all I needed to get back on track.

So, after announcing on Windows Live that The Writings Of Dennis Earl was leaving, I began the rather easy process of transferring four and a half years of content and feedback to the new place.  I’m very happy I did.  Despite experiencing some frustration during a period where I was cleaning up a good number of old pieces, it’s been smooth sailing.  Looking back, had I known about WordPress when I was investigating blogging services five years ago, I’d like to think this would’ve been my first choice.

Spacers had until the first week of 2011 to add new content to their existing sites.  After that, their sites would essentially be online museum exhibits, untouchable shrines that could never be updated. 

And now comes the final phase of Microsoft’s plan:  the shutdown.  Anybody who still has an area of their own on Windows Live has until tomorrow to make a decision.  Make the move to WordPress or kiss your website good-bye.

If you don’t want to continue blogging but don’t want to lose your stuff, do what I did.  Download your Windows Live Space.  Word of caution, however:  your lists, guestbook and photo albums aren’t part of the deal.  Just your blog entries and comments.  So if you want to keep that other stuff, cut and paste into a processor and save to disc before making a final decision on your site.

Even though I had occasional problems with Windows Live (the weird, thankfully brief incident where my content turned invisible, the period when my site was freezing, and the disappointment over revenue streams that didn’t produce a cent), I will be always be thankful for being on there as long as I was.  Whenever I addressed an issue directly to Microsoft, someone from their Support Team would always get back to me and with one exception, solved my dilemmas which was always appreciated. 

When I commemorated the third anniversary of The Writings Of Dennis Earl, I got a nice congratulatory comment from one of their staffers.  I was never asked to censor myself nor did I arouse any anger in the company when I was critical.  (I doubt I was even on their radar, come to think of it.)  Despite its flaws, Windows Live Spaces was a great place to express oneself through writing.  I enjoyed tremendous freedom (much like I do now on WordPress) and I never felt pressured to be something I’m not.

When the whole program began in December 2004, it was originally known as MSN Spaces and it replaced the standard Hotmail/MSN Messenger profile.  Almost two years later, it was renamed Windows Live Spaces as part of a rebranding campaign incorporating other similiarly named services.

And now, it’s on the verge of death.

On the eve of its demise, one can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic for the program.  So much good came from my four and a half years on Windows Live.  Old friendships renewed and new ones established through the discovery of the site, opportunities to write for other outlets, a surprising sense of importance upon learning that professional journalists were reading certain pieces and a regular outlet to voice anything I felt like sharing.

An ex-girlfriend played a major role in inspiring my decision to blog in the first place.  But it was my choice alone in selecting Windows Live Spaces as the intial home for The Writings Of Dennis Earl.  I have no regrets about that.

So, thank you, Microsoft, for creating this service in the first place.  My life would be so different today if it never existed.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
10:58 p.m.

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] After four and a half years on MSN/Windows Live Spaces, I moved my blog to WordPress in October last year.  The reason for this was very simple:  Microsoft was shutting down WLS for good and I didn’t want to lose my stuff.  Thankfully, the company offered bloggers the opportunity to keep their sites going (well, just the contents of the blog itself, actually) by transferring to WP within half a year.  By mid-March 2011, all remaining Spaces that hadn’t relocated would be deleted.  (It actually took several days before the service was completely discontinued.)  On March 15, the day before the mass shutdown was to begin, I paid tribute to my former blogging home. […]

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