The Internet

Memory and permanent records

Replied to Posting for posterity by terry nguyen (gen yeet)

Today, our brain is splintered across an array of devices, social accounts, and apps. What do we make of these growing archives? The natural human impulse, it seems, is to preserve this personal data at all costs.

As an owner of a mind garden / “second brain,” I think Nguyen is missing the other benefits beyond a searchable record, of making connections, pushing yourself to process what you’re saving, and expanding your thoughts over time (the way others do it 😉).

Re: memory, I do think sometimes of an article I read (and wish I’d saved on here) about the value of forgetting that the internet and lasting records have disrupted. I do find myself possessive of my files, especially my photos… a significant portion of which are plants and garden photos. I like taking the photos and posting the highlights on my blog, but do I really need the hundred other shots? Do I need the food photos of my brunches? Some records we make serve a temporary purpose, yet all our files are permanent unless we choose to delete them.

At work we have archiving standards for different types of work. Admin stuff that’s only useful in the same year, longer term admin stuff gets kept three years, projects ten years. Automatic archiving (deleting) feels shocking when you lose something and I highly disagree with the 90-day inbox policy being an inbox is my to do list gal, but there is some value in assigning temporal value to files, and following through on the removals.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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