During these strange times, it feels customary to mention these strange times at the start of an article. But it's the unavoidable context behind much of what's happening both in the real world and online right now – including the arrival of a new website that will self destruct when people stop posting messages to it.
thiswebsitewillselfdestruct.com, created by artist Femme Android, features a single page with a message: "I’m a website. I’ll be gone soon, and that’s okay. If I go 24 hours without receiving a message, I’ll permanently self-destruct". Users can write an anonymous message in a box below, or select 'Read a message' to read a random message from someone else. That's about it – it's a delightfully simple piece of web design (check out our best web design tools or choose one of the best website builders if you're thinking of creating your own).
Oh, and there's timer. Counting down from 86,399 seconds, it refreshes every time a new message is added. If it hits zero, everything gets wiped from the site's database. But with new messages refreshing the countdown every few seconds, the page seems safe for now.
The only instruction in the site's introduction is to "feel free to say what's on your mind – it's been a rough month," and the anonymous messages range from hilarious to heartbreaking (and everything in-between). For example, in the last five minutes we've learned that one stranger is "in love with Gordon and will some day will marry him", while another "really misses chicken nuggets right now". Perhaps the most common theme is missing friends and loved ones during this period of lockdown.
For those of you keeping track, We're now at over 80,000 letters written, and 6.5 million read. Letters are definitely coming in more slowly, but so many people seem to be reading and enjoying them. Thank you to everyone who's been a part of https://t.co/dRRSq48495!April 23, 2020
The website was created as a project for Ludlum Dare (opens in new tab), an online event "where games are made from scratch in a weekend". According to Femme Android (above), it has already received over 80,000 messages, which have been read by 6.5 million people. As many people have said in their messages, we hope the page doesn't self-destruct any time soon.
Check out the site and leave your own message here (opens in new tab).