I like the idea of being your own personal librarian. Information flows around us. The silent and invisible nature of these rivers of information mean they are easily missed. Software ate the world and sent everything online, so I believe It’s a sign of maturity to handle your information online and that this covers everything from social media, to pay tv to paying your taxes.
This problem is new in its scope and digital nature, but there is an arc leading from the Gutenberg press. When a book used to cost as much as a small house, people started sharing them. Then public libraries were born to share the expensive books to the wider public and for years librarians have been the guides, sherpas, educators helping us navigate the reams of data available.
Nowadays the information is cheap. We each generate libraries worth of information in a single day, and it’s all connected. I think we need to gather some librarian skills to handle this revolution.
I have a growing family. It also happens to be growing in the middle of a revolution. As phone carrying members of the digital revolution, the information we generate each and every day is becoming a problem. Before the digital age, there was not much to worry about. Even the most prolific writer, businessman, operator could only create so much hard copy. The files containing our inner most secrets could only get so big before storage and weight became an issue. Now though, the information we gather on purpose, by mistake and through third parties multiplies each day. And it’s all kept on some drive or server somewhere. Privacy is dead, but there is a lot of value and power in consolidating and managing this sprawl to maintain sanity, manage risk, and coordinate your…well….life!
Perhaps step one is to define what is being generated, exactly. This is probably impossible to detail completely, but a good list might cover ~90% of the problem like a good wetsuit covers 90% of the body. Here is where I would start:
- Look at the hardware in your life – This includes all PC’s, laptops, phones, watches, TV’s, gaming consoles, and other smart devices.
- What property do you own which could generate information (cars and speeding fines, for example)
- Look at the software in your life – This includes email accounts, social media accounts, app subscriptions, password management, browsers you use, tracking and privacy settings.
- Look at your financial/work situation – credit cards, bank accounts, trading accounts, tax responsibilities, insurance premiums, salaries coming in, work projects, monthly expenses.
- Look at your healthcare situation – memberships, premiums, chronic illnesses, children related health information, rewards programs.
If we manage to gather this list of ‘info generating stuff’ then we can work on each of the sections individually. Sound good? Good.
This is probably time consuming at first, but it is also probably very useful. Like tidying your bedroom, i think it will have obvious elements (listing your cellphones would be like the duvet on the floor which goes back on the bed) and then more detailed, less obvious stuff (delving into the direct debits from your bank account, or the points available on rewards schemes is a bit like pulling the bed from the wall and vacuuming up the dirt on the floor which is usually unseen).
Like a nuclear chain reaction (terrible Keanu Reaves movie btw!) each of these sections can probably lead down its own information rabbit hole. Just start thinking about your online passwords for example!
This concept is a work in progress – I think the trick is to make a start and treat it as a process.