I am afraid I have become a digital hoarder

After confronting myself with my digital media usage on my last blog I decided to continue falling down the same rabbit hole. Just that this time I would focus on the amount of data that I (maybe unnecessarily) storage. This led me to reflect on the documents that I keep on my devices and to question to what extent this way of engaging with said documents is normal.

Most people enjoy collecting their memories through saving pictures, videos, old chats, etc in their devices such as phones or computers. This is by no means a new occurrence since that is exactly what we used to do in the analog era just that back then it was saved in physical photo albums. Hence, it is safe to say that it is normal to want to cherish the moments in your life through the collecting of some sort of memorabilia.

Nonetheless, at some points, I do wonder whether I cross the line. Specifically, when thinking about the accumulation of digital data that I have in my devices (which unlike physical objects, is at times able to fly under the radar). When I think about how I use my storage I realize that that the attachment I have with this data is somewhat absurd. For example how I use my digital storage does not only consist of saving old pictures, but also the banal things like the contact info of people with whom I have not spoken to in years, or phone applications I rarely use.

This tendency to keep unnecessary information leaves me wondering why is it that it is so easy to just let your devices accumulate information. Maybe it is due to the lack of visibility of this information. Because even though you might cherish the pictures you took while on holiday, is it really that important to save thirty copies of a slightly different sunset picture? I do not really have an answer for that, but I do know that at some point this data becomes mostly invisible and, is extremely easy to forget you even have it.

However, one could argue that it is not that easy to accumulate unnecessary data, due to the limited storage space in most devices. To an extent, this might be true, and this might be the one factor preventing most people from saving information that is of no use to them. Nevertheless, there are ways of expanding your storage capacity, through upgrades or though external memory drives. So, is it that much of an obstacle to have limited built-in storage capacity?

Whether it is due to emotional attachment or maybe even due to simply forgetting what you keep, it is extremely easy to accumulate digitally.  This is a problem that for most people flies under the radar, but I think that people should start dealing with what they decide to store in a similar way that they would do with the things that they keep physically. Of course, that with this I do not mean that we should all start applying the Marie Kondo method to our cell phones or computers. Instead, I mean that we would benefit from being more mindful about what we decide to keep digitally.