A case for deleting our pasts

In Andrew Sniderman’s ‘My Beef with Gmail‘ he writes:

The hidden danger of Gmail is that it creates a link to the past that is too strong, too convenient. Our mistakes and our frailties lie right below the surface, revisited with ease. It is possible that Gmail users who don’t delete their messages have created their very own historical panopticons. We may be able to see our entire written record, but it also looks at us. Preservation gives the past more weight than it sometimes deserves.

There’s something to be said for more forcefully living in the now by automatically deleting everything over a year old on all accounts: who needs old tweets, emails, or text messages? Any platform that involves an ‘archive’ should have a ‘don’t delete this’ checkbox. After a year passes WHOOSH. Whoosh being the sound of the unprotected messages vaporizing. I believe this is also the sound of being encouraged to move on into the now.

It’ll reduce the acres of server farms necessary to keep your past alive and speed up all queries made into your past.  Of course I understand the need for a reflective journal and personal letters. A majority of the content deleted will be Bacn anyways. Time to slice up the “infallible memory”:

The obvious solution, of course, is to delete. Yet my index finger still quivers above my mouse when I ready an archival guillotine. Somehow Gmail has managed to make trashing messages feel like an act of cowardice. Gmail earns our appreciation for the small conveniences of infallible memory, but we ignore the virtues of forgetting.

We cannot lament all footprints that fade in a snowstorm.

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