• Take charge of our data and organize our digital lives.

    We live in a time of strange tension between the digital and analog worlds. Technology advances at a mind-boggling pace. The constant demands of social media, email and the fast-flowing Internet can be overwhelming, in part because of our drive to connect and socialize.

    To keep up requires a certain kind of adaptability and an attitude of willingness to explore new ways to work, play and communicate.

    It is taken for granted that everyone has access to, and knows how to use, the Internet. Nearly all of us are spending a good part of our lives online.

    There is great value in taking a mindful approach and being deeply conscious of how we spend our time, online or off.

    Beyond the philosophical, though, there are practical considerations.

    Angela Crocker, the author of the recently released Declutter Your Data(Self-Counsel Press 2018), urges us to take charge of our data and organize our digital lives.

    With home and work computers and laptops, tablets and smartphones, we are amassing and storing a dizzying volume of data. That data is creating a problem: digital clutter.

    There are many good reasons to take charge of digital clutter and simplify online filing and storage, as well as dealing with an ever-increasing number of apps and tools.

    Most of us understand the way that clutter interferes with efficiency and productivity. Clutter is distracting and stressful.

    There is another aspect worth considering as well.

    Says Crocker: “We need to understand mindfulness and how it fits into our digital lives. We’ll be happier with the right tools: apps and technology. We’ll be happier interacting with stories and truth and authenticity.”

    In her intelligent and practical way, Crocker is guiding us to consider how technology and data fit into our daily lives. She is pointing us to the power of choice, and toward exercising some measure of control over how we engage online and what tools we adopt.

    Crocker has been described as a pioneer of ethical social media and an information organizing superhero. Her work centres on helping people navigate the issues, challenges, and joys of living a digital life.

    Her book offers simple and effective ways to sort, categorize and manage your online data and other technological and digital clutter (think chargers, cords, and obsolete hardware).

    More than that, she offers a framework for how to think about our interactions with technology and our engagements with each other.

    She suggests asking a set of questions: how does technology make you feel; what are your limits; what are your points of frustration?

    She stresses the importance acting with integrity online.

    “No need to hide behind a web of lies. Be truthful. Be authentic. Be clear on your boundaries. Think about privacy.”

    She says: “Be alert to the link between technology and emotion … The quest for digital happiness is an exploration of answers to all these questions and more.”

    • Angela Crocker will be a main stage speaker Canada’s largest social media conference, Social Media Camp in Victoria May 2-4, 2018. You can find out more about Crocker at angelacrocker.com and her books are available at local bookstores and online.

    Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article first appeared in the Maple Ridge News.