Saturday, April 4, 2020


Unsplash/Markus Spike - Digital
Fresh off reading an article of digital pollution, this is also a personal reckoning of sorts. What the Internet and particularly social media has given us are platforms. Whether we are worthy of being given platforms of such immense power is a different matter.

Air, water and soil pollution are phenomena which most sensible people have acknowledged and are working to address. The concept of digital pollution is yet to take root to that extent. Given our political leanings and enemies of choice, it is all too easy to classify the opposing camp’s views as the pollutants. Yet digital pollution has more to do with information overload rather than bias.

Looking through my suggested Facebook memories, the occasional joy of finding something unique is counterbalanced by the massive amounts of inane posts which must have meant something to me then but sure don’t mean much now. They sit there, somewhere on my timeline, to reappear on their anniversary to be rejected yet again.

Much like plastic, a piece of digital information tends to live on forever; refuses to degrade; denies the grim reaper. Our unhealthy obsession with documentation ensures that the most meaningless moments are also recorded for posterity’s sake. Decades of irrelevant data in the form of a cloudy day pic or a restaurant selfie will eventually start clogging the system. Like that individual grocery bag, the combined impact will be tough to comprehend until it reaches unmanageable proportions. As someone who is a committed data hoarder, I represent the digital polluter equivalent of the SUV riding, AC seeking, 'development' seeker.