So had to go and look at the ruined remnants of my life following a sprinkler incident at the ‘secure storage premises’. These businesses charges hundreds of pounds a year to store carbon-based mementoes for many of us cramped City-dwellers these days. Piles of ruined paper which needed to be tossed for hygiene reasons greeted me and my Saturday suddenly became hours of instant salvage/discard decisions, the like of which most of us wisely avoid.
To the landfill site went my first press clippings from teenage music journalism and the university band, mementoes from far too many football matches and rock concerts and, less tragically, the coffee table books, which I felt sure would be read some day. There are of course two ways to look at this. On one level, this is a sad event, akin to going through a deceased relative’s effects or, the sunnier notion, that this was a golden ‘de-cluttering opportunity’.
Bizarrely, this led to me to think about off-site digital storage. Having just signed up for ‘Storage As A Service’, via Norton’s 360 product, I wondered how much it would Norton charge per year for a consumer to store a similar amount of images of these now destroyed documents? Would the time spent scanning them be that much longer than moving large boxes full of carbon around the country? Would self-provisioning my own server in someone else’s datacenter be any more likely to prevent the ‘data loss’?
All of which brought me to Facebook, who recently changed it Terms Of Service (TOS) for the nearly 200 million users who store their images and conversations with it. What happens in the event of a ‘sprinkler incident’ at Facebook? Are Facebookers enjoying free storage when in fact we should be paying for the privilege? Should Facebook embrace its role as the defacto storage dump of our mementoes, albeit they are better edited than those we throw into storage? Perhaps it could offer scanning services for input and then years later, printing services to deliver slightly dog-eared versions of our school yearbooks on suitably aged paper?
While this was a distraction to my mini-crisis, in the real world, it is not over yet, when the insurance claim comes back short (because loss-adjusters have mouths to feed too) there will be the depressing reminded of just how little sentimentality is worth. So, given Facebook’s current price point, although the civil liberty lobby will disagree strongly, perhaps the relatively secure storage of our Facebook ‘lives’ is a pretty good deal.