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Are You a Digital Hoarder?

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…exclaimed my coworker, as I had just finished explaining the sudden death of my 1.5TB external drive as well as the mind (and gut) wrenching experience I was having in deciding whether it would be worth it to recover all of my data.
$1,850 to get that baby resurrected. I mulled over paying that amount for awhile. Would it be worth it to re-purchase all of the media that existed on it? Would it be worth it to retrieve all of the documents and photos I had painstakingly scanned page by page, photo by photo?
Once media switched to digital, I felt so free to redesign spaces/rooms, get rid of media cases and shelves and just thrive in the new open space provided by moving everything to somewhere ‘invisible’. My external drive became my virtual multi-media library.
The ‘Old’ Days
It’s not like when we all transitioned from VHS to DVDs. You could wait and eventually buy a used dvd of all of your favorite VHS movies.
It’s not like when we all graduated from cassette to CD and had the option to eventually buy used CDs.
There is no concept of ‘used’ digital licenses to purchase movies and other media at reduced costs – so after purchasing your favorite classic movie in VHS, then purchasing it again as a DVD, then purchasing it AGAIN as digital media (and most likely you’ve paid again via your Netflix subscription to watch it again in the ‘Watch it Again’ category of your personalized faves!).
When the data of your LIFE becomes suddenly obsolete, it makes you stop to consider what the hell it is all for and is it worth it. The amount spent on one movie title, or your favorite music group over the period of your LIFE comes into question. Your life is not even over yet. Who knows how many other formats Breakfast at Tiffany’s will come out in before you die?
Forget about money for a minute. Let’s think about TIME.
I had scanned a ton of photographs to digital for the preservation of memories with the intention of getting rid of all of those big clunky photo albums and either ridding myself of the physical media or at least slimming it down into small ‘archival’ photo boxes….the amount of TIME that took was excruciating and I would consider myself nowhere NEAR done with that project. To have to do it all OVER again, would kill me.
Then there is Time Machine. I am a mac user and had my Time Machine backup set up on that 1.5 tb drive. Is it NECESSARY for me to go back in time? Had I ever actually DONE IT? Actually – no. It’s just nice to know that I CAN, right?
I had gathered a few opinions from people about what they thought about my predicament. Here are some of their responses:

  1. Do you need all of that stuff?
  2. 1.5 TB? WHAT THE Heck do you HAVE on there?
  3. Go to the cloud – duh!
  4. Next steps? Set up a backup server or SEVERAL!

In this era of letting go and freeing oneself of physical and mental clutter – is moving from the physical to digital realm really doing anything different?

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Tabetha Jones

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