It may be fair to say that as humans, it is within our nature to hoard things. Even when it comes to useless things like out of date takeaway menus, most of us are loathed to throw anything away. Does this trait cross over into our digital lives too? According to research by Microsoft, yes it does.
Given the seemingly infinite amounts of space at our disposal, it’s no surprise that people are happy to keep hold of obsolete emails from months, even years in the past. Obviously it’s good to keep receipts or proof of booking emails from online vendors such as Amazon or Ticketmaster for posterity’s sake and for your records. But then there’s the endless stream of ‘greymail‘ (neither spam nor authentic mail) such as newsletters and special offers that we have somewhere along the line said we’d be happy to receive.
Microsoft estimate that of the 14,600 emails an average Hotmail inbox will receive in 2012, around 80% of them will fall into the so-called ‘greymail’ category. Coming back around to the notion of hoarding, the same research showed that one in ten people said that they never delete emails. To a certain extent you can understand why, as if there’s no real limit to how much you can keep backed up, then you may as well keep things ‘just in case’, and when you need to find something in particular you can search for it.
I’m not aware of many people who make a habit of deleting old Facebook posts or tweets, so why should email be much different? The difference with social networks, is that it is much harder to search a Twitter timeline for example, given the amount of extra noise and content that is generated on the microblogging site, and even harder still to find something when you can’t remember what network it was posted on.
However if you would like to be more organised with your various social media feeds, SocialSafe can solve a lot of your problems. By backing up Facebook profiles and pages, Twitter accounts, Google+ and Viadeo into a searchable user-friendly UI, you can easily find what you’re looking for. You can also act safe in the knowledge that you’ll possess a copy of your content on your own machine rather than having to hope that the servers hosting your accounts will be there forever.