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Digital hoarding

Summary:
Yesterday, I dug into the deepest nest of folders on my MacBook Pro to find a paper I wrote on a 512K Mac in 1987, for a magazine that no longer exists and isn’t (AFAICT) digitally archived. The file must have made transitions from “hard floppies” to removable 44Mb drives (remember them?) to hard drive to SSD and then, when that filled up, to my iCloud backup. Today, I read about “digital hoarding“. Count me in! Whatever the psychological causes, it’s hard to imagine negative real-world consequences from storing files. And it’s easier to search for stuff when you need it than to spend a lot of time filing. I used to sort my email, but now I just delete 90 per cent as it comes in, and archive the rest every couple of years. In the physical world, I’m the opposite. I’m

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Yesterday, I dug into the deepest nest of folders on my MacBook Pro to find a paper I wrote on a 512K Mac in 1987, for a magazine that no longer exists and isn’t (AFAICT) digitally archived. The file must have made transitions from “hard floppies” to removable 44Mb drives (remember them?) to hard drive to SSD and then, when that filled up, to my iCloud backup.

Today, I read about “digital hoarding“. Count me in!


Whatever the psychological causes, it’s hard to imagine negative real-world consequences from storing files. And it’s easier to search for stuff when you need it than to spend a lot of time filing. I used to sort my email, but now I just delete 90 per cent as it comes in, and archive the rest every couple of years.

In the physical world, I’m the opposite. I’m hopelessly untidy, but I follow Marie Kondo in throwing out anything that no longer sparks joy, and in trying to avoid acquiring stuff I don’t need. Being free of paper has been a huge boon in this respect.

John Quiggin
He is an Australian economist, a Professor and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland, and a former member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government.

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