Posted by: Monideepa Tarafdar | September 16, 2013

You’ve Gone Virtual!

I recently moved to a new university – and while my stuff was in transit, a colleague stopped by my office and noticing the empty shelves, said, “No books and files – you’ve gone virtual!” While packing my old office, I was careful to weed out books and papers I no longer needed. But to carry those papers, books and documents that did not fill my bookshelves but sat in my computer hard drive or in a cloud somewhere, all I did was plug in the USB drives. I did not go through the ever-increasing and almost-unmanageable folders-and-subfolders, files-in-every-possible-format and downloaded- application- software, to see if I need all of that. No, I did what was technologically the fastest and easiest thing to do, I just did a dump. So, while the physical books and documents in my new office are sorted and rationalized, the virtual stuff sits in my new hard drive exactly how it was in the old one. Not re-organized, not re-evaluated, just re-plicated. Technology is meant to make our lives more organized and orderly. However, by using technology in only the easiest ways possible, are we using it to do what we set out not to do in the first place? Is “virtual” actually becoming “clutter” and “excess”?

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