Digital Spring Cleaning: Decluttering Your Digital Life
- Spring cleaning is about more than just decluttering your physical space. It’s also about decluttering your digital life.
- Computers are one of the biggest sources of digital exhaust. Every time you use your computer, it generates data.
- Data can be used to track your behavior and learn more about your preferences.
We all know the feeling of spring cleaning our homes. We open up the windows, let in some fresh air, and start to clear out the clutter. Have you ever considered doing a digital spring cleaning of your tech products? Just like our homes, our computers and digital devices can get cluttered with digital exhaust.
What is Digital Exhaust?
Just as an engine exhausts fumes, digital devices produce digital exhaust. This is the data that’s created as a result of our online activities. It can include everything from the websites we visit to the searches we make. While this data may not seem particularly valuable, it can actually be used to track our behavior and learn more about our preferences. For example, your digital exhaust could be used to target you with ads or even influence your decisions.
Your digital exhaust may include your name, address, credit card information, billing address, and shipping address. While this information can be used to improve your online experience, it can also be used for less savory purposes. Can you guess where we’re going with this? Your digital exhaust contains very personal information that you might not want to share with just anyone. So, it’s important to be aware of the digital exhaust you’re producing and take steps to protect your privacy.
What Online Activities Produce Digital Exhaust?
The reality is that we can’t avoid digital exhaust altogether. We accumulate it every time we go online. Take a moment to think about it. What online activities do you do that produce digital exhaust? Here are a few examples:
Browsing the Web
Every time you visit a website, your computer stores a cookie. Cookies are small text files that contain information about your web browsing habits. They can be used to track your movements online and learn more about your interests.
Using Message Boards or Forums
When you post on a message board or forum, you’re usually required to provide an email address. Your posts may also contain personal information such as your age, gender, location, and interests.
Posting in Social Media Groups
When you post in a social media group, your profile information is attached to your post. This information can include your name, profile picture, cover photo, and personal interests.
Searching for Information Online
Every time you search for something online, your search terms are recorded. This information can be used to target you with ads or learn more about your interests.
With the rise of e-commerce, more and more people are shopping online. When you make a purchase, you typically have to provide your name, credit card information, shipping address, and billing address.
As you can see, digital exhaust is produced every time we go online, and it’s not just limited to our computers. Our digital devices, such as smartphones and tablets, also produce digital exhaust.
How Can You Declutter Your Digital Life?
Now that you know how much digital clutter you produce, it’s time to do something about it. Let’s take a look at how we can do a digital spring cleaning of our tech products!
- Review the permissions you’ve given to apps and websites. Do you really need to give that app access to your location or contacts.
- Delete old accounts that you no longer use. Not only does this declutter your digital life, but it also helps to protect your data.
- Use privacy-friendly alternatives to popular services. For example, instead of using Google search, you could try DuckDuckGo.
- Be thoughtful about the information you share online. Think twice before posting something that could be used to track your behavior or influence your decisions.
- Use a password manager. This will help you to create strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts and make it easier to keep track of them.
- Clean up your social media accounts. If you’re like many people who use social media, you probably have accounts on multiple platforms that you don’t use all the time. Getting rid of inactive accounts reduces the amount of digital exhaust you produce.
- Unsubscribe from unwanted emails. We’ve all been there. You sign up for a service or make a purchase online and the next thing you know, your inbox is flooded with emails. If you’re not careful, your inbox can quickly become overloaded with digital clutter.
- Delete old files and programs. Over time, our computers can start to fill up with old files and programs. If you’re not careful, your computer can become bogged down with digital clutter.
- Organize your digital photos. If you’re like most people, you probably have thousands of digital photos that are all over the place. Organizing them can be a pain, but there are plenty of software options that can help you get your photos in order.
- Clear your browser history. Your browser history is a record of the websites you’ve visited. If you’re not careful, that history can quickly become overloaded with digital clutter.
By taking these steps, you can help to reduce the digital clutter in your life and take back control of your data. You may be surprised at how much digital clutter you can eliminate from your life. One of the most important things you should remember during a digital spring cleaning is to backup your important files. This will ensure that you don’t lose any important data if something happens to your device.
After you have finished spring cleaning your home, you may feel a sense of relief. The same can be true for digital decluttering. After you have taken the time to review your permissions, delete old accounts, and unsubscribe from unwanted emails, you may feel like you have decluttered your digital life.
It’s important to remember that digital clutter is always going to be a part of your life. The key is to make sure that you’re aware of it and take steps to declutter on a regular basis. Alvarez Technology Group offers a wide range of IT services, from data backup and disaster recovery to cloud computing and data security. Contact us today to learn more about our IT services and how we can help you protect your data and take back control of your digital life.