May 19, 2020

Digital decluttering

I decided to embark on a digital decluttering project while on quarantine. The objectives are mainly to organize my files and create a digital bank of all the files I've accumulated all these years from movies, photos, documents, ebooks, presentations, to the raw files of my own films; to free up the space of my MacBook so that I can upgrade the operating system, and lastly to reduce my digital footprint. 

The first two objectives I accomplished with ease. First I copied all contents from my MacBook to a hard drive. With a lot of patience I sorted through files stored in 16 hard drives. I decided on what will stay and which to delete. I ended up deleting 10 percent of my files, which were my former students' works and papers. I also had to decide on categories for folders - the decision was between creating a file system based on year or type of files. I decided on the latter so I ended up with 3 hard drives of movies, 12 hard drives of raw files of my own films, and 1 hard drive of documents, photos and presentations. I also thought of a back up for important documents which are stored in the Google Drive of my email address. A Gmail comes with a free 15Gb of data storage. If you want to upgrade your storage, you can do it for a fee. Another Gmail stores back up of my three recent films which still get invited to film festivals. That way file transfer is also convenient. My iCloud, on the other hand, contains photos. So I don't need to bring hard drives with me all the time.

The reduction of digital footprint can be quite challenging. It's easy to permanently delete old Facebook or Twitter accounts for as long as you still remember the password. It's also important that you can access the email address that you used to create the accounts. Social media platforms usually require verification via email. 

What I find challenging is the deletion of email addresses, particularly Gmail. I have about ten Gmail addresses which I used for various reasons. I no longer use half of them, hence, the desire to delete them. But Gmail has a very complicated verification process before you can delete your address. Gmail asks you to access a linked email address for security reason. That was no problem. But they also ask for the mobile number that you linked your account. This was problematic because the emails that I created ten years ago were linked to an old mobile number. So they're staying, for now, until I can find a way to convince Gmail that I no longer need the email addresses. 

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