How do you store your information in the cloud?
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
A few days ago I read an article by Enrique Dans, a regular contributor to this blog. The article was about Diogenes syndrome, a behavioral disorder that consists of hoarding large quantities of rubbish and objects that are largely useless.
Applied to the digital world, we might think of a common syndrome that many of us have when it comes to emails or information that we hoard in the cloud. Enrique classified users in a much earlier article (2005, in spanish) based on their email storage behavior patterns, a classification I have reproduced below.
Tell me how you store and I’ll tell you who you are
1. The auditor:
Everything ever received must be carefully filed… one never knows when somebody is going to be reminded that they sent such and such about such and such on such and such date, or when the corporate server will crash and the firm’s collective memory will have to be reconstructed from his or her files, thus converting him or her into some sort of corporate hero… At first glance, this person’s inbox looks clean and tidy, containing only emails waiting to be answered or processed. Everything else is carefully hidden away in folders. Every now and then, knowing that Outlook .pst archives become unstable once they get beyond a certain size, the auditor files them carefully, transfers them to CD, and starts again from the last three months… In reality, he or she has never ever had to consult one of those CDs filed neatly on the shelf, but every afternoon, when work is done, it’s a great feeling knowing that they are there…
2. The hoarder:
We’ve all seen the headline: “…elderly person found dead in their home surrounded by tons of garbage.” These people keep everything. Everything. From the first email they sent their girlfriend, who is now the mother of his children, to the junk mail that arrives every day offering formidable extensions to certain parts of the human anatomy. Something prevents these kinds of people from distinguishing what is important and what is not, but who knows, one day it may be useful for something… Their inbox is filled with thousands of emails, none of them ordered, but the hoarder knows they are there, or believes they are, or at least those that arrived after the last time he or she dropped the computer or changed jobs…
3. The selective amnesiac:
A variation on the Diogenes syndrome and the auditor who probably started out normal, but whose computer exploded one day, leaving her an amnesiac. She wandered about aimlessly for a few days, asked everybody she knew to resend all their emails, and seeing that she was unable to rebuild her memory, decided to do so selectively. Now she only keeps the important stuff, but has no idea what would happen if her computer exploded again. She would wander around disoriented for a few days, and then go back to normal.
4. The sentimentalist:
He only keeps what is “really important”, the email with his work evaluation, one from the former girlfriend he found on Google, the letter accepting his article, the email sacking everybody from that nice guy who worked in the office next door… He’s never looked at them again, but there they are, in a little folder hanging from his inbox, like yellowing photos in an old album…
5. The scatterbrain:
She doesn’t know what she’s kept, or where it is. Sometimes she groups together her vast inbox, which includes spam, newsletters of every type, emails from friends, as well as professional stuff, and then carries out what in some circles might be called a purifying bonfire, or ethnic cleansing. She has different accounts that forward to each other, and intuitively knows where to find a particular email, but the last time she tried, she spent so long doing so that she forgot what it was she was looking for…
6. The party animal:
She keeps nothing. Why bother, we’re all going to die someday anyway, right? Her classifying system is based on emails that are not important, so we might as well delete them, and those that are important, in which case they’ll be re-sent… Sometimes people will berate her, asking, “What happened to that email I sent asking for such and such?” But it’s always possible to blame technology. Her inbox includes a few recent messages. That’s it. Nothing in the sent folder. She lives in the ether, but she’s happy, carefree… She laughs at the jokes her friends send, and sometimes she forwards them, but keeps no copies. Sometimes people stop talking to her, but she never understands why that guy who looks so familiar seems so upset…
Now imagine the chaos that a mismanaged email can become in the business world. Then throw in mobility, cloud storage, etc. Organizations hoard vast amounts of information which, when ordered and well structured, are a source of immense knowledge, but when poorly managed can turn into tons of impractical data that end up leading to skyrocketing costs and inefficiency.
Enterprise Social Networks can be a very useful tool enabling you to sort your entire corporate knowledge and making it easily accessible anytime, anywhere. They can help enhance internal communication, increase your teams’ productivity, discover talent inside your organization, etc. We have explained all this in our Enterprise Social Networks ROI infographic . Take the plunge and experience the benefits of Zyncro first-hand. We’ll give you 10 good reasons why you should.
Ana Asuero (@aasuero) works as Marketing Manager Spain & Latam at Zyncro. She is an expert in corporate digital communication, social media and social media marketing. She has previously worked on institutional communication, media planning, advertising campaign strategy and market analysis projects.