Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Perils of the Digital Age

Scare Devil by Piers Nye (doesn't he just look freaky?)

I bet you're thinking "OMG, not another blog telling us you can't go online or else you're going to lose all your friends, get fat and DIE". 

LOL. No such thing here, I swear. I've been reading I am Alive by Cameron Jace (Excellent, by the way, if you liked the Hunger Games you'll like it) and one of the things they talk about is your digital trail. How much you are monitoring, what you are monitoring, and how it can be eventually used against you by a psychotic half-machine, half-human dictator. 

But it got me thinking - even if you don't have a half-machine, half-human dictator on your hands, just how much of a digital trail are you leaving that you never use? 

So I started to go through my favorites on my computer last night. This is one of the better examples. I've bookmarked the same recipes 2 and 3 times over that I use all the time. In other cases, I had bookmarked the same location over 30 times! I realized this might be because of syncing my bookmarks and never caring to figure out how to clean up after the sync was complete.

I love all my favorite sites (especially Bell Pepper soup! LOL) but I forget that even though digital items don't take up actual space, they still clutter up your life. You shouldn't delete everything (that would be silly) but taking some pains to think about how and when you need things digitally and how to organize them is just as important as thinking about physical items. 

In this case, I remember being so frustrated I couldn't find my bloody soup recipe I think I bookmarked it over and over, trying to make sure that I remembered. After restructuring (and deleting all the duplicates), its now safely in the "Food" folder of my bookmarks in an easy to manage list. And my genealogy links reappeared, making me remember several sites I had forgotten (US FOIA requests, anyone?)

Seriously. I deleted over 2000 duplicate links. My bookmarks look pretty sweet now and I can access them all under "Most Used" "Personal" "Work" "School" "Crafts" "Genealogy" "Food" and "Cookie Monster" (my favorite time suck). 

When was the last time you thought about your digital footprint?

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