Online Hoarding

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OiStepanka
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Online Hoarding

Post by OiStepanka »

Does anyone feel like we are just hoarding information online sometimes..
Like there is so much information that we bookmark it and never come back?

I like this community because it's encouraged to be active and engage in critical thinking and dialogue: a word that I really didn't grasp all that much until I arrived here.

I am used to the debates of the FB comment section,
used to just hit and miss convos of other large platforms.
And then conversations with friends up until recently ...
were sorely lacking due to the numbness induced by the disconnectedness of mass social media platforms.
Even in person.

Connected together, yet a times so far apart.

Together on the same site but, on different tabs we are.

Nice this place exists, like forest outside of the urban sprawl.

To get away from it all.

A Place To Think Tall.
and bring big results back.
From what started small.

That's All.
"Do It Now, Not Later."
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Sadness
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Re: Online Hoarding

Post by Sadness »

OiStepanka wrote: Sat Apr 15, 2023 1:36 am Does anyone feel like we are just hoarding information online sometimes..
Like there is so much information that we bookmark it and never come back?
This topic has been on my mind for a while, and I'm happy to see someone bring it up! I've been struggling to put my thoughts into words, so I hope this makes sense.

It absolutely does feel like we are just hoarding information sometimes.

I mean, I'm definitely guilty of this. I have hard drives with tons of files dating back to my very first PC, old documents and even chat logs from when I was 15 years old and tons and tons of photos backed up from every digital camera (and then, phones) that I've ever owned. While I do look back from time to time, it's usually for something specific. It'd be impossible to go through absolutely every file, so it's inevitable that a large percentage of it just gets forgotten as if it's not even there.

I think this mentality extends to the internet in general, especially in spaces like these or among the 'web revival' folks there is definitely some hoarding going on - whether that's just collections of links, images saved from the web, screenshots, etc. It's easy for these sorts of things to turn into 'piles of stuff'. I wonder if the ephemerality of the internet and other digital stuff combined with how much easier it is to store a ton of stuff in one place (as opposed to physical objects) encourages this sort of hoarding mentality?

I've often thought a lot about the difference between "archival" and "hoarding". I don't really have a good answer about the difference between the two, except to guess that archival is likely more intentional and involves cataloguing the 'stuff' in some way for future retrieval by the public. When it comes to digital "collections", it's not always so easy to catalogue things in such a way. For example, I know archive.org hosts swathes of digital content, but from my experiences of trying to just 'browse' or 'stumble upon' something cool and archived, it's very difficult if not impossible, even when such content is tagged (unless you know an exact URL or link or something).

In the recent years I've tried to be a little more intentional with what sorts of digital content I back up or 'hoard'. I think this is a really interesting topic though, so I'd love to hear others' thoughts on it! :D
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PawSense
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Re: Online Hoarding

Post by PawSense »

that split between archiving and hoarding has been on my mind a lot too! i love keeping every digital relic i can - i never delete my photos, i always download guides and references for future use, i have a bunch of external storage i use regularly... but i never really consider how it affects me. my justification for it is always "what if i want to go back and see this thing someday?" - and when those thoughts inevitably pop up, my archiving/hoarding does pay off! but i also think that over the years it's made me a lot worse at learning to let go when the online things i love do get erased and i can't do anything about it.

we live in a world where digital hoarding is made extremely easy. we have access to amazing resources like archive.org, we have handheld devices with more storage than ever, and storage options like hard drives with even more! you could store more data than you could ever view in a lifetime!! the major downside of this (at least in my experience) is that, inevitably, things will be lost, and learning to deal with any kind of loss (even something as seemingly silly as a loss of something digital, something intangible) is frustrating! i like to think i've gotten better at dealing with it as it happens over the years - friends purging discord servers full of old conversations, other forums ceasing to exist, computers going kaput - ...and maybe i haven't learned my lesson considering i still compulsively back up everything i can.

and that's not even getting into the discussion of what should be saved! i've never worried about making this distinction - since i'm lucky enough to have enough space to store everything i would want to revisit, deciding what to keep has never really been an issue for me. but i think i could benefit from trimming things down and being stricter about the things i keep... the things that "spark joy", so to speak. :D

i'm not sure what exactly i mean to say through all of this, but i'm excited to see others' POVs on this! it's a really interesting topic for sure. :)
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OiStepanka
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Re: Online Hoarding

Post by OiStepanka »

I found myself inspired by a post on this subject on the gemini protocol. Which got me thinking that it's good to delete things sometimes.

When I think of digital hoarding, I think of all the bookmarks I save in browsers and never go back to. Or the time I've out grown my hard disk real estate. Often back when I was a teen. I'd kinda run my computer into the ground with too much storage and then it'd slow so much I'd have to do a destructive refresh i.e. a protocol that returns the computer to factory settings. The only thing is .. if you do this too much, it can eventually cause the device to stop working (especially windows computers back then, 2008-2011) So I think actively deleting things actively is important.

I was just helping my friend the other day sort through their clothes because they wanted to give some away. They had 3 piles: keep, maybe, and discard. That's a good way to go about digital hoarding as well imo. Actively revisit and see what truly has meaning to you otherwise discard it and if you are on the fence, revisit it in 1-2 weeks and then make a decision. I think it's important to become active in our digital accumulating lives.

I also think it is easier to hoard because lets face it .. as people, as individuals. We've never been this informationally RICH. We are wealthy in information only the noble or kings of the past had access to. Our ancestors would envy us. but unlike the rich and wealthy.. we are left to process it all as individuals. A lot of their possessions help them run things and govern their society. Which perhaps leads to another idea.. is what we have valuable elsewhere and if we post it and leave it out there in cyberspace for someone else.. would it have contributive meaning.. its a lot to think about :)

I appreciate you two sharing your thoughts as well expanding this topic!
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sixeyes
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Re: Online Hoarding

Post by sixeyes »

One thing i've experienced over and over both in the digital world and in physical space, is this thing where i'm keeping things around that are nice, interesting, and maybe even expensive, that i do have genuine interest in - if not now then definitely later. Or so i think, because once something happens and i need to go to my parents for a while, or i go vacationing with a friend, it all just completely disappears from my mind. I don't miss any of it, i don't need it, and it's actually nice to be rid of it. And even now when i've learned to recognize this feeling, i've found that i can't even recall most of the things anyway.

Same thing the few times i've had a computer die on me. Lots of (more or less) carefully stored texts, programs, images, whatnot... super important .swf collection... as soon as it's irrevocably gone i'm like phew!!!

The only things i actually regret losing are things that me or friends made.
OiStepanka wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 10:19 pm When I think of digital hoarding, I think of all the bookmarks I save in browsers and never go back to.
Hehe yeah, bookmarks, and even just open tabs... at one point i was thinking about writing a firefox addon where if you open a 50'th tab it just closes all of them and erases your history. Be thoughtful about it or perish LOL
OiStepanka wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 10:19 pm I also think it is easier to hoard because lets face it .. as people, as individuals. We've never been this informationally RICH. We are wealthy in information only the noble or kings of the past had access to. Our ancestors would envy us. but unlike the rich and wealthy.. we are left to process it all as individuals.
This is an interesting angle! I save maybe 4-5 images per day from tumblr bc "they'll make super good references for drawing practice". Which they probably would, but i absolutely do not have the energy to go through all that. So they just keep piling up until the memory is full...
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Re: Online Hoarding

Post by Cobra! »

I used to have a massive watch later playlist on Youtube, and it got so big that some videos became unavailable before I got to watch them. Not that I was actually watching them, I just kept tabs in the event I did feel like watching them, but never did.

I feel super overwhelmed by how many videos and how much data is out there. I remember reading that in like 2010, 98% of data made up until that point came from the previous 2 years. The amount of data being produced every day is probably even higher.

It would be impossible to archive everything, but would we want to? Most of them are empty calories, and they wouldn’t hold any joy or value. It’s no wonder sites like Youtube resort to data collection to pay for it all while keeping it free. We’re all spoilt, aren’t we?

As for backing up, what I decided to do is whatever song or video I want to download, would only be for recording onto tape. That seems to stop me from downloading everything, because I go “Well this tape only has 4 hours, is this video really worth wasting some of that on?”
sixeyes wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 9:31 pm One thing i've experienced over and over both in the digital world and in physical space, is this thing where i'm keeping things around that are nice, interesting, and maybe even expensive, that i do have genuine interest in - if not now then definitely later. Or so i think, because once something happens and i need to go to my parents for a while, or i go vacationing with a friend, it all just completely disappears from my mind. I don't miss any of it, i don't need it, and it's actually nice to be rid of it. And even now when i've learned to recognize this feeling, i've found that i can't even recall most of the things anyway.

Same thing the few times i've had a computer die on me. Lots of (more or less) carefully stored texts, programs, images, whatnot... super important .swf collection... as soon as it's irrevocably gone i'm like phew!!!
Reminds me of my game and video collection. While I am happy I have most of the stuff, I sometimes see a tape or a game and go “Why am I holding on to this?”

I also get paranoid about stuff, thinking “Am I storing these correctly? Will they rot on me?” or have a lot fear of our house catching on fire or something. Not so much because I’d be losing all the stuff, but because rebuilding my collection would be much more expensive, due to skyrocketing prices and people capitalising on nostalgia. It’s made me super protective of everything.

I have been selling more stuff, or donating it to places where I hope people like myself can pick them up and appreciate them in a way I do other things.

I can’t see myself every giving up physical media, the experience you get from using them can’t ever be replicated with digital, but what you get does add up.
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Re: Online Hoarding

Post by purelyconstructive »

Interesting input everyone!

I've had moments where I've lost many files due to hard drive failure, and moments where I have intentionally deleted many files for a mental "refresh".

The only times that I felt some level of regret in either instance was when:

1. I wanted to reference something within my current activity but could no longer find a copy (e.g.: research that is no longer hosted anywhere)
2. I wanted to reminisce about something personally meaningful and the file was irreplacable (e.g.: photos of friends who have passed away)

It was easy to overcome that regret with the understanding that everything is accessible to us in some way if we meditate on it a bit. I feel that human "memory" is not so much a "storehouse" as it is an "antenna". We tune in to what we are looking for by the thoughts and feelings that we choose to dwell upon.

I've had to do several physical "purges" as I've moved around a lot within the past 8 years too. My criterion for keeping something was always in reference to the future: Will I use it again? How soon and for what? Can I maintain it?

Again, I have very few items that I have a "sentimental attachment" to because I realized that those thoughts and feelings are not contained within the object.

To me, the difference between "hoarding" and "archiving" is that the latter is not the mere accumulation of something, but includes some sort of organizational scheme and purpose behind it.

Sometimes we want to be able to share accumulated knowledge across time so that we don't have to "reinvent the wheel" or relive "hard-won lessons" if we do not have to. The term for this is "time-binding". To quote the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
the characteristically human activity of transmitting experience from one generation to another especially through the use of symbols
This is why I like books. They are like little informational gestalts that help us to tune our antenna.
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