Data Hoarding and the Death of Collecting

Juan Villela

The way we interact with media has undergone a remarkable shift recently, thanks to the constantly changing digital landscape. This transformation has profoundly impacted our media consumption habits, which have evolved significantly. The sheer volume of data and information at our fingertips is staggering, yet this abundance brings a paradoxical challenge. The ease of access and seemingly endless storage have led to an information overload, complicating our ability to forge meaningful connections with the content we consume.

There’s a nostalgic charm to the bygone era when our interaction with media was tangibly personal. Our collections were meticulously curated, reflecting our unique tastes and preferences, each item holding a special place in our physical world. This intimate bond has been disrupted by the surge of large tech corporations and the digitization of media. Platforms such as Spotify and Netflix now shape our interaction with media, their algorithms subtly guiding our choices and reshaping our digital libraries.

This era of unlimited streaming has simplified the addition of myriad items to our collections, yet it has also propelled us into a cycle of rapid consumption. This frenzy often leads to hoarding, diminishing the intrinsic value of the content we amass. The automated curation provided by these services has supplanted the need for personal organization, altering our connection with our media.

Consequently, our control and agency over our collections have diminished, leaving us at the mercy of software algorithms designed to optimize platform engagement rather than enrich our personal experience.

Is it possible to regain dominion over our media? Certainly, but it requires deliberate effort. By consciously selecting and prioritizing our media consumption, we can cultivate a collection that resonates with our values rather than indiscriminately hoarding content.

Enhancing our methods of organizing and prioritizing this content is crucial. This doesn’t necessarily mean creating private data vaults; instead, it involves establishing an accessible, structured, and searchable archive. A well-maintained archive facilitates easier access and enhances the value of the content we gather.

Yet, the reality is that many need more time or resources to organize their media meticulously. Despite a resurgence in physical media, its practicality pales compared to digital formats. However, platforms like Plex and Roon offer a middle ground, enabling thoughtful organization of media libraries that are accessible from anywhere. While not flawless, these platforms represent a positive step towards more purposeful curation.

By intentionally seeking and engaging with content that resonates, we can reinvigorate our connection with our media. Embracing the tangible aspects of media allows us to rekindle the nostalgia and emotional attachment that has faded in the digital era. Our relationship with media transcends mere access; it is intrinsically linked to the memories and emotions we associate with it.

Here’s a quick list of online stores where you can build digital media that’s not tied to a streaming service or monthly subscription:

I mentioned using software like Plex and Roon, but you can also manage your libraries without the need for a home server. Here are some options:

See Also

Spreadsheets Revolutions

I was dissatisfied with the current bookmarking solutions, so I made a custom one instead. This started with a myriad of Airtable bases, and then—for some stupid reason—I decided to roll my own hosted database.

Owning Your Data

When your data is the source of revenue, whoever has it will do anything to protect it and reassure you that it is best placed in their hands. But when it isn't at risk of being lost, it's being utilized to violate your privacy.