If you’re not familiar with it yet, you will be soon.

Of course, here’s the obligatory Webster’s Google definition:


It may be the best reaction to the privacy and data collection concerns that are mainstays in headlines now. When you have your own SNL skit you know you’ve made it.

You Can’t Win…No Really, Why Even Try?

The thing with privacy is that it’s a never ending battle.

Beef up your security a gabillion times over? The more & more secure you make your sacred information, the harder it is for you to live a normal (internet) life. And it feels like it’s inevitable that your data will leak eventually, no matter how amazing the security might seem right now.

Stop using Google? And it’s not just the stuff you want to be secure, but also about Google and their goggolplex of personal data they have about you. How longare you willing to keep trusting them? Could you even give up Google cold turkey? I can’t.

Stop using that app you don’t even remember ever using? Or even think about this: what was that small social app you used 5 years…something like MySpace maybe? Where is all your MySpace info now? And more importantly, where is it going to be 10 years from now?

Ok, I’ll just unplug my computer. Avoiding the internet altogether doesn’t work either. Janet Vertesi tried that and lost. I mean she went all out super ninja style and still lost when she used too much cash, which caused her to be tracked by authorities.

It’s Time For A Digital Spring Cleaning

Regardless of whether someone ever gets a hold of your precious, precious, amazon sock purchasing history, do you really even want all of this data?

In large enough quantities, digital data becomes digital clutter.

Just as you comb through your closet every year, tossing out old clothes during an annual spring cleaning, should you be doing the same with your data? I miss my college days when I had a stack of ~50 physical pictures that encompassed everything important in my life. That stack made it through all of college, constantly ebbing and flowing as new friends were added and old ones fell off.

Now I have thousands of digital pictures that I’ve never seen.

This Blog Will Self Destruct in 30 Seconds…

Which brings us back an ephemeral approach to privacy.

Can you track something that doesn’t exist?

Let’s take the ephemeral movement’s posterchild Snapchat. Well, let’s first get your sexting jokes out of the way. Annnnnnnd go…


…ok, have your attention again?

Seriously, let’s look at what makes Snapchat so popular?

  • There’s no social pressure – I no longer care how many likes my post will get, if any
  • There’s no memory capital used – I no longer care how much space this will take up on my phone
  • There’s no future regret – I no longer worry about making a mistake
  • There’s no picture after 10 seconds – Well, so they say…

Here are some other people doing similar things:

I’ll End With an Old Story on MS Word

I remember the first few times I ever wrote school papers on computers. I’d spend hours at the computer making sure I had my 2″ margins, double-spacing and 14pt fonts.

At the time we had a single PC in our house up in my parent’s sitting room, so I’d camp out there and start cranking away. Here’s what’d always happen though: inevitably, I’d get about three quarters of the way through and then…

  • …I’d accidentally hit the delete key and somehow erase the entire document,
  • …or I’d accidentally kick the power cord with my foot and shut down the PC,
  • …or I’d see a blue screen of death and have to reboot,
  • …or the PC would just freeze, secretly laughing at me from the other side of that 10 foot deep CRT monitor.

Did this ever happen to you?

I don’t know how many mice I broke in frustration. Hours of work, completely lost. I’d have to start typing from scratch. I became a habitual CTRL + S’er. CTRL+S dominated my dreams.


Ha! Good luck.

I challenge you to startup a new Microsoft Word 2013 doc and “lose” some of your work. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

So on that note, I’m excited for new apps and platforms that start treating my data ephemerally. What about you?