Two laptops, an iPad, an iPod, one smart phone, three gmail accounts, one yahoomail account, Facebook, Linkedin, G+, Twitter and Pinterest. This is the minimum of all the digital clutter I manage everyday. That makes it about 70 apps, 3800 songs, 168 GB in pictures with 41675 files in 443 folders, 7435 unread emails, random updates from 46 liked pages, Random updates from 248 contacts and random updates from people I don’t know and don’t want to know about.
And while very brilliantly, I have somehow managed to not buy the kindles, the Xboxes, Wiis, PS 2-3s, there is a whole bunch of digital management on the subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Vudu and what not. And now Youtube is coming up with the channeling thing. And I dont even want to start feeling pity for the 8X4 cassette camcorder and the kodak film cameras. I have atleast 40 cassettes I need to convert into DVDs and a few VCR tapes. I dont remember what I did to my CDs, must’ve thrown them since iTunes. If you think about it, CDs and DVDs won’t even qualify in the digital category anymore.
At the speed that our digital clutter is growing, we will soon run into a day where our brain won’t be able to keep track of all that we have. There was a time when I owned a 256MB flash drive and it seemed to store A LOT. Now I have a 320 GB External drive and it keeps giving me the annoying “the drive doesn’t have sufficient storage….please delete some of the files and try again” message. Not to mention, my laptop has extended from 64 GB to 300 GB too and it ain’t enough. Now Cloud services may have helped with the storage issue (for those of us who are tech savvy), but it still doesn’t resolve the tracking issue. If I have 1450 pictures from my two day trip to San Antonio, it becomes my fucking job to look at each and every picture and delete the ones I don’t want to keep. But one – who has the time? And Two – Yes, I want to take that many pictures (coz I am a camera freak). So I guess the point is – It’s a curse that digital clutter is so easy to create, and more often than not – It’s free.
It is surprising to think when do I find time to do all this while I constantly complain to my daughter about not having enough time to go out and play. Somewhere in the early 2000s, without realizing we were doing it, the basketballs were replaced by smart MP3 players and it hasn’t stopped since. We started “friending” our street friends and stopped seeing them on the streets.
While all this is good in the beginning, I wonder if it’s an evolutionary step for the human race. Just how we evolved from chimps to humans because sometime hundreds of years ago, one of the chimps said – Lets try and stand on two feet rather than four. And then all chimps started doing it. And then they started loosing hair. And they evolved into the modern human. I wonder if we continue to digitize our world, we will all turn into just a massive body of Information Download. I wonder if we will all become the Neo of Matrix with a download kit in our heads and never ever have to learn anything again. Art will be dead and nature will be ignored. Our hands will be left with the index finger only, afterall that’s all we need for the touch screens. I am assuming we will be advanced enough to not have to type anything nymore. Voice commands will just be perfect. And even the instruments made in America would have learnt the Indian accent (Hail Russell Peters).
Now that’s wishful thinking. And it may not happen for my generation. For now, I want to think how to get rid of all my digital clutter. How to let go of things I don’t need. And not create back ups of back ups of pictures. How not to worry about getting that sale newsletter from Macy’s. How to not sob missing the reading list from Oprah’s book club.
I guess the best way to think about it is to let go of the fear of missing something we don’t know we’re missing….to let go of the spam we don’t think is spam but keeps cluttering us even in the night while we are sleeping. The problem is, deleting stuff won’t work. Unsubscribing will. And that’s a little too much to give up, isn’t it….And then the issue of solid files like pictures and songs and random word documents like this post which I saved on my desktop before publishing, have to be just clouded. Just save everything on the cloud and give the key to your partner (in case you get hit by the beer truck, your family wont loose the family pictures…). And then hope smart people just keep building smart search tools so you can just search stuff from a heap when you need it. Let your category monster in your brain go to sleep. Forever. I feel brainless already just thinking about it.