I have years of chat logs that are locked up in formats I can no longer read. I even have boxes of Zip and floppy disks somewhere, as well as aged recordable CDs that probably aren’t faring too well. That’s the reality of digital data: sometimes it degrades, but usually the technological ecosystem moves on around it, leaving it isolated and inaccessible.
The internet evolves at a pace like nothing else. Usually, we laud and encourage that frenzied pace, but it often leaves a trail of debris in its wake.
Usually, that debris is our data. The sheer number of the types of data we create daily is staggering, but when you factor in the multiple formats (usually proprietary) for each type, the numbers begin to overwhelm.
Truth be told, there's not a good solution in sight- but there are things we can do to ease the blow. Matt Gemmell has a few suggestions that also serve as simple reminders to be more mindful of the trail of data we leave behind as we go about our internet-driven days.