Digital Detritus

One problem with having so many options available for storing, managing, and sharing digital content is that it requires more effort to remember where everything is stored. That is, if you decide to use more than one option.

I’m always curious to try out new applications for digital content. Most of the time, I start using one because somebody recommends it or I’m required to use it for a project. If I like it, I start using it more and “move” in to customize the work space. However most of the time, I only use these apps for a short-period of time and ultimately end up abandoning them, leaving my digital detritus behind.

For example, there was the time I felt inspired to try out Evernote. People raved about it. I installed the app on my iPad and figured I would give it a trial run during a vacation a few years ago. After my vacation, I had barely used Evernote. Additionally, nobody I worked with, or shared with, used it regularly so I lost interest.

The other challenge is that not everybody uses the same applications, which also makes it complicated to manage content. As a consultant, I often have to adopt whatever tools or applications my clients use, even if it’s just for a single proejct. If I’m collaborating with other consultants, I will often use whatever s/he is using, or we’ll decide on something together.

I do my best to clean up my files at the end of a project, but most of the time I’m in a shared space. This means I can’t just delete things according to my strict standards but instead must respect the guidelines of the client or colleague. Sometimes, if I’m working with other people, we don’t all finish the project at the same time which also makes it complicated to clean up the documents. Typically if I’m going to clean up my files, I like to do it as part of my close-out process when I remember things clearly, rather than months later when I’ve already starting working on something else.

It’s easy to create anything, anywhere, anytime, but actually managing and caring for that content over time is much harder. I feel irritated leaving so many digital traces behind and dealing with duplicate content, but it’s hard to control with so many available options and rapidly changing technology.

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