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I, Hoarder (or is that iHoarder?)

WRITTEN by: Frank Sulka |
categories: Business Growth

Jan 2014


According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to hoard is “to hide and collect a large amount of (something valuable).” If you’ve ever seen an episode of the television show Hoarders on A&E, you’ll agree with the “large amount” part but struggle to see the “valuable” in a stack of old pizza boxes, assorted clothes, magazines and shampoo samples. Although one in 50 people compulsively hoard in the traditional sense, hoarding in the digital world is much more common. You probably don’t realize it, but you are most likely a digital hoarder.

When Two Worlds Collide

Let me step back a moment. Just because I’m a digital hoarder I shouldn’t assume that you are, as digital hoarding may require hoarding tendencies in general which, for the record, I have. I love books. I literally have a couple thousand hardcovers, more than I can read in a lifetime. They’re in closets, on bookshelves in my home office and bookcases in the living room, hallway and my bedroom. And, I buy more books regularly.

Now here comes the irony: I do not and will not own a digital book. How can a digital professional not use technology when it comes to reading? It would be so much easier for me to manage my book hoarding if they were digital.  Well, if you’re a Trekkie like me and, more importantly a Captain Jean-Luc Picard fan, you’ll understand why I won’t make the switch to digital.  For aboard the high-tech vessel the Enterprise in the 24th century, Captain Jean-Luc Picard was often seen reading a hardcover book. In fact, in the episode entitled The Perfect Mate, he states, “I fall asleep each night with an old book in my hands.”  That’s saying a lot when a quick visit to the ship’s holodeck could bring the book to life with him in the story. But, for Captain Picard and me, there is and always will be something about good, old-fashioned books. They’re like old friends that are nice to have around—even if they are all around you. Fortunately, digital hoarding isn’t all around you and can be dealt with quickly.

Pictures, Music and Videos, OH MY!

Our phones are now video recorders and high definition cameras. Our computers and tablets have increasingly more storage space and then there’s the Cloud, which seemingly acts as an unlimited repository of space—for a price. What does all of this extra digital storage lead to for most of us? Saving nearly everything we have digitally accumulated in our lives, including: a music collection that rivals the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, photos of our kids, photos of the ocean, photos of our kids in the ocean, a video of an early morning rainbow, a video of a squirrel sliding off of a squirrel-free birdfeeder and more. I’m talking award-winning stuff here and much of it isn’t even in focus. Focus be damned! I personally put pictures in my “family photos and video” folder on my desktop right next to the “miscellaneous folder” that is also full of photos and videos of, well, my family. These folders are completely unorganized, burgeoning like poison ivy on a kindergartner. I eventually reach a point where I can’t tolerate it and I know just the right ointment for this ailment—to the Cloud! And so, the cycle is complete.  These files will rarely (if ever) be accessed again, yet there they sit in my digital home, a hoarder’s home (just not as yucky).

To Hoard or Not to Hoard

So, with the New Year here, my challenge to you is this: If you a hoarder, digital or otherwise, let’s both take this opportunity to clean up our act (and our hard drive). Yes, it’s going to take some time but it will be time well spent. Look on the bright side—you’ll get to revisit all of those pictures, videos and files you saved and take a moment to reminisce about them. Then, do your best Emperor Commodus from the movie Gladiator and decide the fate of the offender. Sure you’ll likely still keep plenty, but don’t be afraid to pitch things, either in a real recycling bin or the one on your desktop. Get rid of those blurry pictures of little Tommy. Get rid of those 20-second videos of a cool building you filmed through the car window. However, should you decide to get rid of those extra books you have lying around, let me know. I have a home for them.

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