I've been thinking about the preservation of my digital footprint. Not from the point of mortality, nor from the aspect of vanity, but rather from the practical challenge that has been observed by Douglas Adams and probably others that you get to the stage where one may have forgotten more than the sum total of what you've learned. Which prompted me to muse with deepest sympathy to the estate of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
I saved a document into the cloud,
It fell to a server, where read/write was allowed;
For, so swiftly it was saved, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
I saved a spreadsheet onto my C:\,
It fell to my disc, somewhere locally;
For 3 bells chime and I must dash,
How often does a hard disc crash?
Long, long afterward, in a volume shadow copy
I found what once might have rested on a floppy;
And the file, from those obscure ranges,
Contained none of my most recent changes.
As a professional writer, I ought to have every word to hand. G-d knows the loving craft that, although invisible to the reader (!) goes into what 'Ye have read, ye have heard, ye have thought'. A Tweet here, a letter there, a comment somewhere else, and a book chapter manuscript long since 'filed'. What will we need again? Is that recorded conversation important? What did I type in that chat window? 'Memories lost like tears in the rain...'
But on reflection, this is also a question of risk. What should we retain? And what must we retain? Do you even know what you have that you might need to retain? I call again upon the wisdom of Dave (see 18 July 2012 - Don't it always seem to go...): 'Data doesn't exist until it's in three places.' I'm afraid, Dave!