Passing down digital assets

April 21, 2015

chalkbd cal fbNow that I don’t work outside the home, the calendar has a different, more casual function. It’s more like…well, guidance.  Sure, there are some hard and fast appointments, like when the housekeepers come. Or Riley’s scent class.  Or his grooming or my hair appointment.

But by and large, the days being driven by a calendar is in the distant past, and that feels pretty good.

It especially felt good after paging through a bunch of calendars I’ve saved since my working days–going back to the 1980s.  Glancing through them, I noted how busy my days were. And glancing was all I did, because otherwise I’d have sat there for hours. One day, I’ll go through them in more detail.  Old journals were also squirreled away, and together, the journals and calendars help connect the dots of my life.


Only some of my archived calendars.

You know, as a memoir writer, it’s hard for me to discard recorded history. Any kind of calendar, especially a datebook, is filled with events large and small that signify a life. One never knows when that information might be useful again. So when I went through those old boxes, I appreciated the mother lode of archival material there, including those old calendars.

Even after it became possible and even popular to keep an online calendar, either on computer or later, synched with our phones, I kept a hard copy. Month-at-a-glance assessments–necessary for various project events I was planning– are far easier to do in larger format and I never did like those little dots that signified events on a phone calendar.  Phone calendars are too small and too klugey for me, but they seem to be standard today. (God, I’m sounding old. But really, it’s more a visual thing than a fear of technology. I need to see more than a dot and a date.)

So I wonder now, how many writers still have hard copy calendars and if they don’t, do they archive their old online events?  How is that info preserved for the future? Or is it just left to disappear into the ether?

I have the same question about family photos. Without leather-bound albums, how are photos passed on? What happens to them?

Passing down digital assets is something we need to think about these days. Our calendars, photos, email accounts–even a blog or a social media account–they all exist in digital format and what happens when we’re gone? What if no one as the password?

Asking your thoughts on this.

26 comments on “Passing down digital assets
  1. Sandy says:

    Yes, digital memories and files are great, but I have always liked to have a physical, tangible item. Especially old writings, diaries or things of that nature. Even photos. I save my photos digitally but I also print them. I have albums upon albums, and I like it this way. You’re right. What would you pass down from generation to generation if things were all digital? 🙂

  2. I think about that also. I do photography and everything is on my mac. I say I am going to make digital albums but don’t get around to it.
    I forget to check my calendars and don’t use them to often. I think I will remember everything in my head. How long will that last????

  3. I should really start making digital albums for my photos and finding somewhere safe to store them online.

  4. Great question. What DOES happen to all that information you no longer need? Several of my writer friends have died, but their pages remain on Facebook and I even get reminders of their birthday. So you can’t get rid of it after you’re gone. Therefore, neither could anyone access your information–your pictures.
    I wish I’d kept calendars from the time I was old enough to do so. The details of my life are so hazy now, which makes it very difficult to write memoirs and such.

  5. Britney says:

    I think having digital items on the computer and such are great, but at the same time I really like having the actual physical copy!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Great point! I love looking through our old photo albums and old calenders. But now that everything is digital, I don’t have the memories from the last few years.
    I also just learned the cloud doesn’t keep your photo’s very long, and so now the hunt is on to try and find them!

  7. Shonda says:

    Like many others, I do have my digital calendar, but for the life of me, I cannot bare to get rid of my handy, paper calendar. Paper and pen are with me everywhere.
    I’ve also made digital scrapbooks with my photos. And I take some of those photos, print them to create an annual print scrapbook and standard photo albums by event/trip. I am not very green when it comes to my memories that is for sure. 🙂

  8. Sheryl says:

    You just made me realize that a calendar is a journal of sorts…I wish I had kept my old ones, to remind me of everything that went on…we tend to forget once we’re onto the next thing.

  9. Liz Mays says:

    I saw a little bit of myself here because I can’t part with my old planners and calendars. I very rarely ever look back at them, but they have meaning to me regardless. (Also, I’m a bit of a sentimental hoarder.)

  10. Jeanine says:

    This is interesting! I don’t have a digital calendar. Mine is all in my planner which is a good ol paper planner!

  11. Bismah says:

    This really puts things things into perspective. I am thinking that if someone had a Will drawn up they could have a document attached that holds any passwords to online accounts or services being used. Otherwise it may be a good idea to entrust someone with your passwords.

  12. Hmmm … this makes me think I better get moving on making books with all our digital photos. It makes me sad that so much history will get lost as people stop writing letters and printing out pictures.

  13. BellyBytes says:

    There’s nothing really like flipping through old diaries and photo albums to revisit the days gone by. How many of us whip out our lap tops or CDs to share our digital memories? I also find that one of my external hard disks cannot “open” up when I connect it to the computer. So does this mean that my material is lost forever? Similarly when we converted our photos into cassettes. Then that technology moved on to CDs so we burnt them onto CDs which I found actually deteriorated after a few years. So essentially there’s nothing really to replace the “hard copy” version of our memory bank.

  14. Keriann McKenna says:

    I think I must be a hard copy kind of gal. I have old calendars and those black address books with alphabetic tabs going back years. Recently I took one of them and started adding my login and password info into them and took into account how my kids would look for them after I’m gone. So I used B for Bank instead of the name of the bank, M for mortgage, etc. It’s not only for their ease…I have so many I can’t remember most of them myself.

    I try to be good for the eco system and I hate to waste paper, however after my Mom died 17 years ago, I was glad I’d saved and printed every email and chat she had with my sisters and I, including the emails between my sisters and I about her cancer.

    For those of us who are writers we need to have a will so our royalties continue to go to someone of our choice long after we’re gone. As for the personal things, I think it’s not only important to save them but to have a file telling where everything is and why they should look at it…why it was important to me. This is something I’m working on for what it’s worth.

  15. Long time ago I converted everything to digital not good if I lose my phone or my backup computer drive fails I’m in deep trouble. It is romantic to think about printed calendars and diaries though.

  16. Lana says:

    I’m with you Carol, and I still use a paper day planner. I guess I just like to write things down with pen and paper! I also still make scrapbooks of my photos, but I’m definitely in the minority there.

  17. I’ve been creating digital albums lately… I love the idea of watching slideshows of different digital albums on my computer. Nice thing is I can go to my google albums from anywhere anytime.

  18. Estelle says:

    i do everything digitally these days. I used to love my Franklin planner though years ago!

  19. I keep a dry erase calendar on the wall in front of my desk for important appointments and blog posts and a calendar book like the one you have pictured open in front of me with the same thing done actually with the pencil that you sent me! I always use pencil in case I change my mind which happens often and then the one on my phone for when I’m out and about.

  20. This is a very real problem and worry for me, as a mom I take and store a lot of photos in my phone or my computer and have always known I need to make a digital album. I feel as though I will end up losing this battle if one bad thing happens because I am being lazy with the transfer. Thank you for the information!

  21. I have been thinking about this as well. Digital memories just do not seem to be very easily passed on.

  22. Diane says:

    Oh, my word! You’re right! I’ve carefully saved everything to my computer, but what do I do now? I’ve saved some to a flash drive. Better get on it . . .
    Thank you!

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