One barometer for being in the web game for too long is when one can remember a blog entry Jason Fried wrote in August 2005 that relates exactly to what one is currently writing about. The entry to which I am referring was an idea the 37s crew had about information and why you should or should not keep certain types handy:
“Why not read an email and then instantly delete it? Why do we save emails? Why do we archive them in folders for safe keeping? We donâ€™t save phone calls. We have a conversation on the phone and then we hang up. If we need to take notes for whatever reason we do, but 99% of phone calls are completely ephemeral. And if we forget something, or we need it again, we just make another call.”
I was in the camp of people who don’t think this is a good idea, at least for me, since I have an absolutely terrible memory. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for technophiles, almost every piece of information that is now transferred between human beings is stored somewhere. For me, the most important pieces are IM conversations and email, and here are my stats for those:
- I have every IM conversation I’ve participated in since December 27, 2004 stored and fully searchable by query, date, or participants.
- I have every email I’ve received/sent since May 2, 2004, which can also be accessed in various ways.
These large data sets may not be as important for normal people, but because my memory is so poor, they’re a necessity in my life. Email search is one of the “killer apps” that I use every single day, and IM conversation search is used at least weekly.
So is memory tied to “being a pack-rat” in regards to technical storage? I’m not sure if it’s a causal relationship but if my computer can store things and keep them out of my brain, then maybe I can use my empty brain cells for other important things. Like Albert Einstein once said:
“Intelligence is not the ability to store information, but to know where to find it.” –Link