I've been thinking a lot about the impermanence of digital artifacts lately.
Every morning, with my coffee, I open my notebook1 to a fresh page and just start writing. Most of the time, there isn't anything ground shattering (or even particularly interesting) being committed to paper: notes on how I slept, how I'm feeling physically, maybe a random thought that's rattling around in my head.
I could write all this down in, say, Day One or some other journaling app2. Doing so would even give me richer metadata around the topic: my location, current weather, what my activity's been like, what music I might be listening to. I could link to things! And, possibly more important, I could search for things! This is something that digital can do, in ways that analogue cannot.
But, for better or for worse, this notebook (and its predecessors) will still be around in ten, twenty, even fifty years. An app's content might be around in ten. Twenty is pushing it. Fifty? Sure, software will still be around, and if I'm lucky, the app I've been writing in for years will still be around.
That's a big if.
And, going beyond that: if your Google, Microsoft, or Apple account (or whatever) was suddenly deleted through, say, some database glitch, then poof — your contacts' information disappears. Your calendar is wiped clean. Photos, reminders, notes? Gone.
Sure, in some ways, that's a nice reset, but at least some of that stuff is really important. I don't particularly relish the thought of such an unexpected digital purge. So, tipping my hat to the turn of the millenium, I've ordered a 2022 planner3 for myself. Of course, I'll continue to add stuff to my phone/computer's calendar — as a convenience, secondary to a primarily-paper system.
Let's see how that goes.
1. For the last couple of years, my notebook of choice has been a Leuchtturm 1917, specifically an A5-sized dot-grid variant (link). I've got a couple of Kanso Noto notebooks —again, A5 dot-grid versions (link)— waiting in the wings, because hey: variety is the life of spice. ➥
2. I could also write things here, of course, but a) most of it would probably be very boring for anyone other than myself, and b) some of it is, of course, private. ➥