When I read this morning’s ReadWriteWeb post about digital hoarding by Taylor Hatmaker, I discovered a kindred spirit amid the sea of inbox zero fanatics and Evernote acolytes.
For I, like Hatmaker, collect digital scraps of information for later reading and action, but it piles up in the cloud, unread and unacted upon. My collection of favorited items from the Amazon River that is my Twitter stream long ago surpassed 1,000, and my Google Reader has too many unread items to even fathom. (I do occasionally read some of the stories that flow through that stream. That’s how I discovered Hatmaker’s essay this morning.) Email, too, is out of control — both the work account and the personal one — and is compounded by my habit of blind copying myself on certain emails that will require me to follow up when the recipients of those messages inevitably ignore their responsibility for whatever deal we’ve struck. (Credit due to Getting Things Done guru David Allen for this idea, which has helped me keep better tabs on projects but has done nothing to help alleviate my digital hoarding tendencies.)
The Internet, the cloud, cheap server space and social media tools have all made it easier to collect digital stuff and save it for — For what, exactly? For later? For ever?
So, yeah. Digital hoarder, c’est moi.
That used to bother me. But I’ve learned to come to terms to this aspect of my personality. As much as I love the idea of productivity and clearing clutter from my digital and physical life, I realize that it will never happen.
Hatmaker also knows this.
“I’m never even going to organize my hoard,” she writes. “I’m never going to straighten out my Evernote tags or my Gmail labels or all of those saved stories on Read It Later, Pocket or Instapaper. I am an absolutely abysmal digital gardener, just like I am a terrible real gardener. I can hardly remember to keep my cat alive in real life – and she has a robust built-in reminder system.”
This makes me smile.
Digital hoarders love digital company, I guess.
So if you’re one of us, know that you are not alone.