Sunday, January 18, 2015

DigiLit Sunday: The Problem with Being Digital

Well, I bet you didn't see that coming.  My title isn't my typical view of going digital.  I've found digital to make my life so much easier with apps to keep my grocery list and calendars, websites to collect links, spaces to create documents, and virtual notebooks for writing.  You know I'm a big fan of Evernote, Noteshelf, and Google.  I create in a variety of spaces including Google, Blogger, Canva, Shutterfly and many more.  I can't imagine my life without the connections I have been able to build and the resources I have discovered in these virtual spaces.

Though I love the convenience of being digital, more and more I'm thinking about the potential problem of working digitally --- losing everything.  You know I'm still recovering from the loss of data on my iPad after a recent factory reset.  Yesterday's news may have brought me right back to that place.  Yesterday, through conversations with Franki Sibberson, I realized Jog the Web is gone.  Yep, it appears to be gone.

I'm not a super sleuth and I don't remember any of the French I learned in high school (sorry Mrs. Hopkins) but, after digging around Twitter and putting French tweets into Google translator, I would guess the site has had financial issues and could no longer support its servers.  I loved Jog the Web.  I loved the way we could collect multiple sites around a topic and turn it into a magazine-like resource.  With the loss of Jog the Web, all of our collections of #cyberPD and #pb10for10 are gone.  Yep, gone.  So many resources just lost.

In this case, the challenge wasn't a cloud issue.  Jog the Web had "cloud space" on their servers, but instead an issue of closing of a site.  Now I don't want to go all Chicken Little on you today, but I can't help but wonder what happens if sites we save information on regularly just stop functioning?  How do we avoid losing all of our creations, documents, and collected links?  I suppose backing them up to other spaces is one time consuming solution, but it seems having paper copies is our only guarantee.  Doesn't that really take us backward instead of forward?

If you haven't been to Carl Sandburg's home, you should go.  When you step inside his house, after witnessing the beautiful view he enjoyed, you are immediately drawn into his bookshelves.  The house is just full of books, but that isn't the fascinating part either.  In each book there are small pieces of paper tabs sticking out where he found something interesting or wanted to get back to some thinking or return to revisit wonderful words.  We wouldn't be able to enjoy Sandburg's process in the same way if he were digital.  Would Emily Dickinson's work been discovered if it were digital?  (Well, I like to think it would have been discovered before she died if she lived in today's digital times, but who knows.)

I, for one, am starting to rethink the tools I use to create.  More and more I'm trying to stick with tools that have cloud capabilities, but I'm finding that just may not be THE answer either.  I'd love to hear your thoughts and ways you protect your digital work from disappearing.

See more digital posts by stopping by Reflections on the Teche.  


  1. Excellent questions, Cathy. I had that thought recently as I was sharing Evernote with my student teacher. The "what if this all just disappeared?" thought. I don't have any answers, but wanted you to know I'm with you in the thinking about it.

    As for the way we protect, I don't know. My blog writing, the writing for Choice Lit, etc is all in Word on my computer, and also backed up to a thumb drive semi-regularly. Not perfect at all.

  2. Thanks for thinking along with me, Katherine. I live in a cloud (well, I've been told that before, but for different My Choice Lit writing is in Google. I have two blogs not backed up. I'm thinking my first step is to back up my blogs. It seems a bit redundant, but the Jog the Web loss is a huge wake up call for me.


  3. Sorry that this has happened. I guess that we'd better back up the most important things & hope that's enough. I have my blog posts on Word docs on my computer, but keep thinking I should at least have them printed & bound. As we move further into the digital world, I've often wondered at the loss of notes in margins, especially from people who are well-known. Dilemmas & choices to be made here!

  4. Reading this post makes me think of two things. I better go back to paper and pencil! I also need you to write a post about backing up a blog. Can you figure that out for me?

  5. Your post makes me think I need to go back to paper and pencil. I also hope you write a post on backing up a blog because I draft write in my blog so the writing is only there. Thank you friend.