Response to Team E-Waste Inquiry #3: Digital Sorting

I would say I spend on average very little time actually organizing and sorting my digital data in my various hard drives. At a capacity of 500 or 750 GB a drive, I own 6 drives in total. I wish I could say I keep them well organized, but most of the time I end up dumping files onto whichever drive I have handy, some files are backed up, some not. The things I end up discarding mostly (in order to acquire more room on the drives) are previous versions of video projects, Photoshop files, photos, etc. I do plan on going through each hard drive, backing up each file onto a master drive, and sorting each item into appropriate folders so I can easily access things. BUT the whole idea of the process makes me feel overwhelmed even though it would probably take a few hours to do so.

In terms of digital sorting, I would say I spend at least an two – three hours a day sorting through my various sources of information. Whether it be clicking on links I find worth clicking on to investigate further on Twitter, watching videos or reading articles sent to me by friends or family by email, or going through pages of blogs I frequent to sort out things I find valuable enough to share with others or Bookmark. I often wonder if spending hours on the Internet “researching” is productive or a waste of time.



1 Comment»

  cindypound wrote @

vicky – thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic. i too have several hard drives kicking around, i’ve tried to be fairly organized about what goes on them and how the files are structured, but the reality is that the data grows so quickly that it seems always on the verge of becoming unmanageable. every few weeks/month i spend an hour or so trying to contain the information and keep it organized. not to mention the fact that i’ve got some intentionally redundant copies of the data for back up purposes. i lost a bunch of data once in a hard drive crash, so i guess i learned my lesson.

at work we have stringent limits on how much email we can store on our account…so every few week we have to proactively sort and discard, sort and archive, else our access to our primary communication platform be made temporarily inaccessible.

i hadn’t thought much about the idea that web browsing is primarily a sorting activity. one that is an intersection between actualizing personal interests and activities and the massive amount of information that is now available to us on the internet.

and this sorting exercise – as elizabeth rightly pointed out in class – actually has an effect on what information is then presented back to us. surfacing news that is “most popular” or “most emailed” is but one example. another example is of course the contextualized ad serving that is used within gmail and elsewhere. the system knows what you are looking for in your digital scavenging process and at a certain point in time begins to present this information to you so that it can be easily “gleaned.”


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