Digital Hoarding: Being Green, Greedy or Acting a Fool?

While many of us have gotten over the collecting habit of hoarding old DVDs, photo albums, and other multimedia, the digital age of cheap hard drive storage has encouraged a similar, yet different type of collecting behavior - the hoarding of digital information. We speak about the benefits, potential issues, and concerns of this new era of "gotta have it all," right after the jump.

Let's talk about the benefits of having everything digital these days. For one, it's seems like we're doing a bit less harm to the environment (less tree chopping, that's for sure), but there are some environmentalists out there who will argue that the complete opposite is true. With the rate of electronic consumption we're going through gadgets today, we're putting more poison into the environment than ever.

Another benefit is ease of distribution. Of course, there are dinosaurs like the RIAA and MPAA who still don't seem to have a clue about what's going on, the level playing ground on the Internet has created a virtual culture that embraces sharing of ideas, innovation, and creativity. This also means you try and collect every new music album announced on Pitchfork each day and still find it impossible to keep up at the rate of informational availability.

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Lastly, the benefit of digital hoarding allows for multimedia to go with us everywhere we go. As terabytes start to become a reality in laptops, one can essentially keep an entire family album with him/her and still have room for plenty of music, movies, and video games.

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Now, the downside to all of this is that digital formats are never forever. Sure, you'll run into the enthusiast every once in a while who will argue that FLAC is forever or TIFF will last 20 years from now. The truth is formats change too often, and even more quickly in this digital age. Resolutions will multiply and collecting every single song/movie/photo soon starts to lose its appeal quite rapidly.

But to be honest, I personally couldn't be any happier. Moving these days feels like a breeze, backup systems to the cloud ensue our precious memories don't get lost in a fire, and I have more media at my fingertips now than I could have ever imagined. I still hoard digital media even though I know these formats will most likely die off in a couple of years, simply due to the fact that I feel these bits and bytes make up my digital identity, despite its intangibility and ease of duplication.

Let's open it up to you guys. Do you consider yourself a digital hoarder? What kind of media do you guys collect "physical" versions of? What kind do you prefer to watch on Hulu, stream from Pandora, or view on Flickr? Do you think there's a future in local hard drives or will everything end up in the cloud?

[Image: Gone IKEA Crazy: Johan's Ultimate Home Theater Hack]

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