The Archaeology of Digital Life

Recently, I transformed my computing environment from being Mac and iOs only to include Windows and Android. As parts of my digital life such as bookmarks, reading list, passwords, and others were stored in Mac/iOS only tools, I was at odds. The cross-platform tools that I switched to did not have good enough importing facilities. So either I had to manually enter lots of data, or I had to give up some.

Being pressed on time, I decided to sort through things, and port only what is important for me now. Looking carefully at what was lost, I realized that it could be classified into layers, the way archaelogists view the history of an old city.

The archaeology of an old city, like Rome, is a layer upon layer of buildings and roads and other features of urban life as they evolve through the centuries.

Now, while have many years of experience in computing, digital life spans many more years, but certainly is less then 100 years of old. But as pointed by many notable thinkers, digital life runs at a much faster pace. Whatever was stored on my Mac and iOS devives was only 5 years old. Ever since I started using Mac and iOS. Yet I could see the layers clearly.

These layers of my digital life represented two intertwined timelines, digital trends as they globally evolve, and my own personal timeline of of interests, work places, and projects. It was obvious my own personal timeline reflects trends, such as the rise of mobile apps and my personal experience with mobile app development.

A similar layering could be observed on my iPhone. Now that I started using Android Nexus extensively, I noticed that using cross-platforms apps across my iOS and Android devices made many apps on my iOS devices obsolete. Some of them are great globally, but I no longer use them. In fact, I did not bother installing their Android version even if it was available.

There are these people who offer to sort through your house and rearrange your physical life. My impression is that similar digital sorting and I dare to say styling would be useful for many.