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On “TLC”, there is a program called “Hoarding: Buried Alive”, where one can see people with hoarding problems, accumulating tons and tons of “trash” and all kinds of objects. Imagine that, but in the virtual world. For some people, being surrounded by information triggered a new addiction: digital hoarding.

Don’t take this the wrong way, digital hoarding or data hoarding can be great for archives. It can be great to see the first tweet ever posted by your favorite celebrity! But, in some cases, it becomes a real addiction. Some netizens have taken that data collection to another level.

With the digital area, access to information is easier day by day, and some people started to accumulate tons of data because they were afraid that this information would disappear one day. Collecting data, “just in case” or “because we never know” became a real illness.

Today, some people will save every movie, picture, tweet, or even email, just in case one day they might need them. It became a trend about who can accumulate the most data, the most information from the past. Basically, a competition of people proving who can accumulate the most gigabits of data from the World Wide Web.

How can I know that I’m a digital hoarder?

Here are a couple of signs to recognize if you’re hoarding data: when you start to hold on to documents that are irrelevant to you, or when you start to save every piece of documentation because “you never know”. In some cases that can be the start of your hoarding journey.

Is this new trend legal?

Well, it depends! Do you accumulate data protected by copyright law? If yes, then your digital hoarding is illegal. For example, saving the last season of your favorite TV show, because you’re afraid that it will never air again, is against copyright laws.

Why is it important to stop hoarding data?

Hoarding takes up a lot of space on the cloud or on your computer. In some cases, it might even slow down your computer. Additionally, keeping all the data can have a significant environmental impact. An email produces 7 grams of CO2, and if everyone keeps their thousands of emails “just in case”, that can be dramatic for the environment.

Not only that, data storage produces a lot of CO2 emissions, and if we keep every data since our digital debut, it can harm the environment.

To learn more about digital hoarding:

A propos de Norhane Soltani

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