- Category: Articles
- Published on Thursday, 24 May 2012 11:45
- Written by Chad Curvin
- Hits: 408
Digital hoarding comes in all shapes and sizes. In some cases it seems more obvious than it does in others. With mobile digital hoarding we can imagine things like smartphones, laptops, netbooks and remote online storage through services such as Google Drive or DropBox. In this article I'm going to focus on the smartphone aspect of digital hoarding and begin building an understanding of what we have come to believe is normal.
Smartphones have provided a means to bring our digital lives with us wherever we go. With things like digital photos, digital videos and digital music we can experience our media wherever we go now with very little pain or time involved. Along with that lack of pain we more easily become pack rats of digital content. You know that text message conversation you have stored in your phone from 3 years ago? Well that's a perfect example of digital hoarding. What are you saving it for, your middle age crisis to prove you were cool once? The idea that we have more and more amounts of storage on our smartphones allows us to passively watch as our hoarding gets out of control and our devices do little to help us.
Digital photos are likely at the top of the list of most commonly hoarded digital media on the smartphone. We take pictures of everything from a car accident we witnessed, to our daughter's first cut, to ourselves kissing at the camera on the phone. And we keep these pictures, all of them. The car accident that had about 3 seconds of relevance is stored on our phones until the end of time. "One day I'll sit down and go through them!" You lie to yourself (and maybe to this article). The reality is "some day" or "one day" will rarely come around and when it does, what is at the top of your priority list? The least likely is your digital content.
Digital video falls right in there with digital photos but is likely a slightly less common thing in terms of number-of-videos stored on your smartphone. As smartphones continue to evolve and video recording and editing become better and better on our smartphones we are very likely to see digital video surpassing digital photos as the most commonly hoarded digital media files on our phones. The interesting thing about digital video is that it has a slightly better method of forcing you to deal with it: the files are significantly larger than most of your other digital media files. This means that occasionally it will become more urgent and obvious to you that you need to delete, or archive, some of these files. But it is still very easy to fall into the trap of keeping them around for generations of phones you own, so you may want to keep that "some day" open to looking at your video file list as well.
Who doesn't like a massive selection of music available to them, right at their fingertips and with the ability to move from song to song in seconds? Exactly, and exactly why you probably have a playlist on your phone that spans several days of around-the-clock listening. Digital music is arguably what revolutionized us into the smartphone arena so quickly. In our pockets you could find a flip phone for texting and calling and likely a second digital device: an mp3 player or iPod. Combing those two products into one made it so easy for you to keep Jimmy Page, Tupac, Andrea Bocelli, and Randy Travis together on one device just in case you find yourself in the middle of a Rock/Rap/Opera/Country concert... "One day I'll organize my music by mood" the follow up to that is never, "...and leave the rest at home." Why? Because we want it all, right here, right now. There is no "one day" for our music. But there could (and should) be.
You have several options to deal with these files but the most obvious of them is to stop waiting for that one day and plan. Create a day each week where you go through your digital devices, in this case the smartphone and clean up the photos of which you have 12 sequences of nearly the same photo. When you take an uneventful 4 minute video, delete it immediately. Once your friend falls and breaks his arm for your YouTube smash hit and you've uploaded it, delete it from your phone. Because you likely aren't going to choose those first two options for the videos (otherwise you wouldn't be here) add it to the weekly plan of combing through the smartphone to clean it up.
Music. I don't think anybody is going to convince you to clean up your music collection by leaving the majority of it at home in an organization program. But one way you can tackle this from the planning perspective is to set a limit on the amount of storage you'll dedicate to your eclectic collection. You can even set it at a percentage so you can scale it up if you later decide to opt for the 128GB version of your phone instead of the 16GB version. Whatever you do here, do it with intention.
With smartphones we will likely continue to see an ever growing capacity both in terms of internal and externally available storage. Along with that we are likely to see increased amounts of hoarding, increased amounts of unnecessary files and a massively useless storage of text messages from the last 26 years. What we can also bet we'll see is an increase in digital hoarders of all of this media. The next time you are searching through 4,000 pictures of cats to find the picture of your daughter's dance, maybe you'll have a fleeting thought that maybe you should clean it up. With any hope for the future, I sure hope so.