Some people talk about the syndrome Diogenes DigitalOthers prefer to refer more to hoarding disorder; The truth is that as we are more exposed to an increase in information on the Internet and social networks, the constant need to save or aggregate information that we consider relevant or that we may use in the future is more real. This is why we often leave files saved indefinitely on our computer or simply mark content as favorites out of fear of never being found again.
However, although this disorder is well documented in the field of health, when we refer to the digital realm, we are not exactly talking about a condition that requires a specialist’s follow-up. But usually more than one person is surely aware that it has fallen to a greater or lesser degree and turned us into Digital Scrap.
According to a survey conducted by Tekdi Digital Marketing Institute, In 2021, more than 70% of people consulted aged 25-50 did not remember deleting old files in the past monthWhile 9 out of 10 had difficulty distinguishing between what they wanted to keep and what they didn’t need on tablets or mobile phones.
On the other hand, a study conducted by the University of Sheffield, UK, concluded that We only delete 17% of the photos we take and save 83% even if we don’t like them, They are useless (they are out of focus, dark, blurred, etc.) or nearly identical to each other.
Between 2017 and 2022, about 333 billion emails were sent worldwide, of which only 22.7% were opened, while 2.62% received a click on the information, according to figures from MailChimp.
As the devices we use have gained more storage capacity – and to a large extent also – thanks to the appearance of the cloud, we don’t stop storing tons of photos (many of them repeating from the same shot several times thinking we’ll pick the best and delete the rest), plane tickets or concerts , PDFs we’ve never read, videos we download for redirection at some point, course slides we swear we’ll review in the future, among other types of documents.
The problem with all this is not just that Our devices will run out of memorybut we will also be exposed to the theft of valuable information, for example, if a Cybercriminals gain access to intimate photos Which we never delete from our mobile phone.
On the other hand, excessive stacking of documents and files and an unwillingness to be separated from them is a symptom of a society overly exposed to information, which can have repercussions on Our emotional health creates stress and anxiety. Finally, we seldom realize that the Internet cloud, although it sometimes looks like an ethereal thing, actually exists and is made up of the servers of service providers that provide said service, Servers that take advantage of significant environmental and energy resources to stay operational.
A psychological look at ‘digital junk’
For Diana Diaz Moreno, psychologist and professor at the University of Caetano Heredia, the reality of digital files accumulating “It definitely affects our lives because we live in a society of excessive consumption.”.
“We always produce data. It is like a relationship without a link, because we are constantly looking for web pages, articles, documents or content, but without even being aware of it. Therefore, we focus on unscrupulous consumerism”, Diaz Moreno comments.
According to the specialist, we keep the information knowing that most of the time we won’t review it again. That is, we see things for fear that something is important And not making the effort to be somewhat simple. “It’s like clothes I won’t wear, but I keep just in case I have them.”
“We live in this society where the more things we have, the more valuable everything becomes, which is why we need cars, homes, club affiliation, etc.,” says the psychologist. “This is also transmitted to the digital world. For example, to social networks where we are looking for more “likes” or we want more information, more posts and more videos. That’s why we save songs we’ll never listen to or open thousands of tabs we’ll probably never finish reading.Add.
TikTok is an app that embodies this well, as it takes us from page to page. The question really is, do we review what we keep?
So what is the acceptable or ‘normal’ point? When we start to get upset, when all this digital activity doesn’t allow us to work. Every time I see more people who come to counseling with difficulty in concentrating and who do not feel as well as they like because they waste time – and that is what they value – on social networks”concludes the health professional.
The cloud on the ground and pollution
As mentioned above, although the internet cloud appears to be somewhat volatile, it certainly exists in the physical world. They are really servers located in warehouses full of equipment. All of these devices require energy and emit carbon dioxide.
According to Washington-based FTI Consulting, it is estimated that, on average, Each email generates four grams of carbon dioxide and sends 65 emails equivalent to one kilometer traveled by car. While each Google search has an impact of 0.2 grams of carbon dioxide, according to the same search engine.
For internet and cloud servers to function, they must be well cooled. In general, it can mean the global use of the Internet 2.6 billion liters of water annually.
Something as simple as sending an unnecessary email or saving a file that will never be used on cloud servers, without us being very familiar with it, undermines the environment.
Tips to stop being a “digitally unwanted man”
Written by Bethlem Boronat, Director of the Master’s Program in Customer Experience and Innovation at EAE Business School
Before saving the document, we must ask ourselves if we are going to print it
Since we sometimes collect information almost unconsciously and impulsively, it is recommended to consider whether we will really read it when saving, downloading or highlighting content and the environmental impact this practice generates. If not, it is best to avoid saving it.
Finger control, wondering if it’s really necessary to take all those pictures
You should try to choose when the photos were taken and periodically review the photos we saved, removing those we don’t need to keep. It is important to organize them into albums and name them.
Clean files not only local, but also those in the cloud
When we save something locally, we usually realize that it is there, but when we do it in the cloud, we don’t get that feeling and everything seems to fit … delete everything we no longer use, empty the cache and organize documents, that’s how it will be easier Find everything easily.
Use tools that help organize and remove trash easily
Images can be uploaded to Find.Same.Images.OK and later using an image sorting platform such as Adobe Bridge. It is recommended to listen to music using streaming platforms like Bandcamp. In the case of organizing bookmarks or files that look interesting, tools such as Pocket can be implemented, which help with organization and thus facilitate the process of removing what is no longer used.
Make a digital Marie Kondo every six months
Put the date on the calendar. Every six months, we can spend a morning browsing the local folders on the computer to choose what to keep for the long term and copy it to an external hard drive. What will be consulted can be categorized into folders and removed what is no longer useful. This frees up space with a cleaning program like CC Cleaner.
It is recommended to review social networks and photo folders, in order to delete what is no longer consulted. In addition to emptying the desktop and choosing bookmarks.
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