The tale of a digital hoarder: Introduction

By Matt Cornock

Digital hoarding: The keeping and collecting of all your digital possessions, forever and ever. It’s keeping a copy of everything that has ever passed through your computer, on your screen or in your virtual existence. Much like ‘physical’ hoarding, everything is pretty much kept in a crazy jumble, and with one explosion it’ll be destroyed forever.

I have a selection of hard disk drives currently in use. Much like a slab of cheese at the back of the fridge, they sit there, purring away, slowly growing ‘stuff’ which will eventually consume them. On these drives I have practically everything I’ve ever done on a computer from the past five years. Anything before that sits on the ‘annual backup DVDs’ that because they were cheap, have already dissolved away. So how did it all get into this state and why do so many other people end up with bytes streaming out of every computer orifice?

Drive C: - Used space: more than you can possibly imagine. Free space: none.

What to hoard?

The hoarded possessions may be any of the following seven webly sins:

  1. Photos
  2. Videos
  3. Music
  4. Word docs
  5. Emails
  6. Friends
  7. Temporary files

Why hoard?

Any or all of the following:

  1. Fear of losing something you’ll one day ‘need’ desperately in twenty years. Especially, that Christmas list from 1997 or that friend who has an expertise in farming worms.
  2. Disk space is so cheap, what’s the point of deleting things? Gone are the days when you’d have to worry about keeping your 50MB drive for Windows 3.1 and GSP Desktop Publisher.
  3. To destroy something one has created, is to destroy one’s soul.
  4. There is a mild satisfaction in taking over five minutes to bring up a list of all the files in one single folder.

Time to ponder

Over the next few blog posts, I’ll take a look at each of the seven webly sins in turn and highlight their evil call which makes us store and collect them forever more. 

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