I’ve been thinking about deleting things.

Despite having undergone a great purge of belongings before moving into this apartment with Ben, I find I still have  too many things. Every surface in my office has gown increasingly cluttered, and it makes it difficult to be serenely productive (perhaps that’s an oxymoron in some ways, but still).

The feeling of over-cluttered bled into the digital realm as, over the past week or two, my computer has been showing signs of distress. It’s nearly 3 years old and I’ve not taken proper care of it– it needs some disk-repair and optimization. Which, oddly enough, got me to thinking about the clutter out there; the kind that doesn’t even take up any of my (nor my computer’s) actual space, but floats out there on servers and in so-called clouds.  I removed myself from MySpace over the weekend– deleted all the attendant ephemera. It felt like a relief.

This got me thinking about all the various accounts I have out there, and why.

From a strictly webmaster point of view, the more the merrier– the more links pointing to (in my case) electrofork, the better its standings on search engines. But beyond that (a business concern) what?  Supposing we look at it in a more human way? Are we being pulled in too many directions? I have often felt stretched too thin when it comes to online presence; there are networking sites, portfolio sites, photo-sharing sites, blogs…  Add to all these music, book, and list-oriented web sites– it’s overwhelming. There are so many web sites at which I’ve set up accounts or profiles, and while several have been valuable, the majority of them have done little more than increase the number of sanctioned spams in my email. Ugh!

This got me to thinking: Do all these public presences amount to digital horcruxes? Are we splintering our souls, spreading ourselves too thin? Sites want as much as we’re willing to give, and while we may get something out of it, they get much more. Information is the most useful tool in a market-oriented society. We comprise the demographics. And with the help of thousands of sites out there, we’re doing all their research for them, and leading them straight to our inboxes.

It’s been making me feel a little creepy and much overdrawn, so I’m setting out to delete as many of my ‘profiles’ as I can; hopefully feel a little less fractured, a little less sold. As ephemeral as this stuff is, all those traces of me will hopefully be overwritten by new profiles eventually.

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