expiring content

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(Redirected from ephemeral content)

Expiring content is content that is only temporarily (ephemerally) relevant, and also part of a larger post, that can and should be (preferably automatically) removed once a particular datetime has passed (the expiration date).

To Do

Some URLs to read, extract info from, and expand this article with:



Why ephemeral content

Why post ephemeral content?

If you're writing a post that has both long term relevance, and bits that only matter in the immediate day or perhaps week afterwards, it makes sense to designate / markup those bits as ephemeral content, and have your site automatically remove them or switch to something else after the fact.

Why ephemeral posts

Why publish an ephemeral post?

From existing examples, there appears to be two types of ephemeral posts:

  1. Posts that expire as of a particular date and time due to no longer being relevant after that time (e.g. discounts, invitations, announcements)
  2. Posts that expire within a certain period of time after posting (e.g. 24h like Snapchat).

The first are similar to the ephemeral content example above.

The second type of ephemeral post, popularized by the Snapchat silo and copied by Instagram stories and others, seems to make it easier to "just post" something without worrying as much about presentation, details, refinements, since there is an expectation that it won't be (publicly) archived/shown/discovered for all time.

Expired posts may be removed completely, or changed to be private (which is what Instagram effectively does with Story posts by default).

The use of ephemeral posts implies some value to ephemerality, in direct contrast to longevity.

Real World Needs Examples

Examples of IndieWeb sites/posts with content that would benefit from automatic expiry.


This post: http://tantek.com/2014/308/b2/my-first-year-november-project#half-marathon-hills-track has a couple of pieces of temporal content I would have liked to have expire automatically:

  • " (Reminder: NovemberProject 2014 Yearbook Photos Are Tomorrow!) " - an entire paragraph I'd have liked to have disappear automatically once the referenced event had passed.
  • "hopefully this Sunday at the Berkeley Half. " - have it expire and be replaced by a placeholder of some sort until I update it with my finishing time and other info.

WordPress Plugins

Silo Examples


Mastodon allows configuring posts to be automatically deleted based on a set amount of time and the number of interactions as of v3.5.0 released 2022-03-30.

Mastodon settings menu with automated deletion age threshold setting and list of exception options like pinned posts and posts favorited by x people.


Last.fm allows one to set jam-like posts. Any scrobbled song can be set as a current obsession which will be shown on the user's profile page similar to a pinned post. Current obsessions can be deleted or changed at any time, but are set to automatically expire within a week.



What would be a good way (UX) for the user to select and indicate that some content should be expired when?


What would be a good way to store that certain sections of content should be expired?


What would be a good way(UX) for the user to select and indicate that some content should be replaced by some other content automatically when?


Google supports a unavailable_after robots meta tag value to indicate when a page should no longer appear in search results.

<meta name="robots" content="unavailable_after: 2020-09-21">

See Also