Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Are You an Internet / Information Hoarder?

I have always liked to collect information.  All sorts of information, actually. 

Whether it be interesting bits about a new health regime I could (and probably should) be following, or about a new species that has been discovered lying within the last-remaining, uncharted (and quickly melting!) Arctic ice that I can share with my students, or about something I should be doing to prepare for my eventual retirement (#no clue, #willGETthereSOMEDAY!); if it is interesting enough to have caught my eye, I'll tend to hold on to it so that if I ever need to refer back to it, I'll have my source.

The same sort of (bad) behavior also tends to carry over into my writing. However, with capabilities of technology growing by leaps and bounds, my habit is changing. The notebooks that I used to fill with ideas and first drafts and which were safely tucked away in a corner of my office have been replaced by file-upon-file stored on my hard drives or thumb drives (yes, plural--to the nth-degree). Scrolling through them can be a nightmare, especially if I'm looking for a particular piece of writing
or idea that I vaguely remember typing. Using the search button can come in handy, but why should I need to use it at all?

THAT IS THE QUESTION that came to mind recently when I was trying to go through my email and once again, work through my daily goal of getting the number of emails in my INBOX to under 800. Technology, which is supposed to make our lives easier, is taking my habit of wanting to collect information and learn all I can about this ever-changing world into a new dimension.  I have emails sitting in my INBOX, my SAVED box, and my DRAFT-that-needs-to-be-sent box--all of which I intend to get to very soon.... All of which more or less, end up being perpetually saved for "LATER."

My email problem is so bad (or so admireable--given the fact that I don't want to ignore anyone who might have sent me something interesting), I actually had fun exploring it the other day. Did you know that you can alphabetize your email by subject, or by sender? This allowed me to see who and what subjects I've been neglecting. Usually, my email is ordered simply by date, which means the newest emails get attended to first, while the older ones fuel my growing frustration of NEEDS-TO-BE-ATTENDED-TO-LIST. But this alphabetical option was pretty cool! (Sorry, if your last name begins with X Y or Z -- I may never get there from here).

And now I have Twitter! (@wenger13) #JUSTinCASEyouWANTEDtoKNOW!

Twitter helps me store information, too! (Not what I need, I know.) Now I have a growing-not-seeming-to-go-away Lists of Tweets that I've sent, DMs that I've replied to (or am wanting to reply to), @Interactions with peeps, and FAVORITES of you-got-it.... Information I DON'T want to FORGET.

At least when I was hoarding information on paper, I could keep my piles manageable, given the limited space of my office. (Yes, I did declutter.) But with expanding technology, increasing processor speeds, and the every growing offerings of storage on the Internet, it seems the amount of communication I could end up holding on to could become an UNNATURAL DISASTER. Perhaps even, a THREAT to the NATIONAL SECURITY of the Very Country I call, "HOME."

I suspect I'll get a call from the President himself someday. Perhaps he'll ask me to track down a bit of information he needs, or ask for my assistance with that massive U.S. database called the LIBRARY of CONGRESS (#can't imagine), or maybe, just maybe, he'll simply ask me to unplug.

I #don'tknow, but until I get that call I don't have time to think about it--I've got an interesting email that I've got to *try* to respond to.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. I was thinking of going over and following you on Twitter, but would I be contributing to the delinquency of an Internet hoarder? Adding another message to your email inbox? BTW, I've met you through the SCBWI group on LinkedIn. ^_^