thinking about e-mail and colonic irrigation

[This one is dedicated to Stowe, a kindred spirit (at least in the context of e-mail].

A few decades ago, losing a personal name and address book amounted to a major tragedy. A decade ago, losing a mobile phone (with its cache of remembered numbers) amounted to a minor tragedy.

Now everything’s backed up. Or, to put it more accurately, it is possible to back everything up affordably and cheaply.

And by the time you allow for the replenishing powers of social networks, you don’t even need the back-up. e-mail addresses and telephone numbers can be rebuilt from scratch, with the help of the community.

So it makes me wonder. If re-creation costs are low, then possibilities emerge. Maybe, just maybe, we would all become more effective and more efficient, if we treated ourselves to a purge of our electronic lives every now and then.

You know those 1500 e-mails that have remained unread in your inbox for a couple of years? You know those old and outdated contact details you hold for others, details you’ve never bothered to clean up? Zap them, purge them, experience some sort of catharsis.

Who knows, it could become a fad? Colonic irrigation for digital data.

5 thoughts on “thinking about e-mail and colonic irrigation”

  1. Most of those people who work outside a corporation have experienced this some time in the last five years.

    Your PC goes down and you realise – ‘ah, no backup’. Damn – my work life has disappeared! But you’re right, it makes not a blind bit of difference in the medium term. And a fresh start is *refreshing*. Like jumping into a frozen lake. Re-aligns your perspective.

  2. For things like this, surely OCD is a bit like a PacMan game, you just have to wait till the right things are flashing…..

  3. The power of losing this kind of data — intentionally or accidentally — is that it helps you to focus on what’s REALLY important. If what you’re looking at is easily replicable, it’s probably NOT essential to your success.

    Personal and commercial success is really built around what’s uniquely YOU. The un-copyable parts that live in your head, in your corporate systems, in your devoted customer base, etc.

  4. I’ve been doing exactly that, and also converting everything to online storage, so I don’t need my own laptop to be able to work.

    All my bookmarks are now on, all my feeds are on feedeachother, and other files are google docs and remote mail.

    It’s forced me to delete a lot of stuff that wasn’t really useful, look at stuff I’d previously filed for future reference, and generally just have a clear up…

Let me know what you think

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