This article is based on one short chapter from Daniel Miller's The Comfort of Things. An all-round excellent book, by the way! It is full of lovable portraits of people, and the stories behind their homes and possessions.
One of the people portrayed in the book is Malcolm (not his real name).
Malcolm divides his time between Australia and the UK. He moves so much that he never really has time to put roots down in one place. Instead, he chooses to invest his home-making into his digital space. His laptop is his home, and his email is his fixed address.
"The email address has established itself as the place where everyone can always find him, and he is always at home... [Email] is not just a means of communication, but the medium for organising relationships. He was just in the middle of sorting emails when we met him. As a result, he picked up on twenty friends he should have been in contact with but hadn't recently. He immediately sent them all emails about his latest movements."
He also uses his laptop as a way of keeping in touch with himself: "Malcolm has a passion for keeping himself in order, through a process we would call self-archiving." By going through his digital stuff, he gets clarity on his own identity.
(uh, I imagine - says a woman who has read a book written by a man who asked a person about themselves)
Home is something you create. It is where you can relax and be yourself. It is a space you share with only those who are closest to you. And you fill it with your own personal things.
Digital or not.
Thanks for reading :)
This was the first post in my brand new series: Deep Dive into Personal Digital Archiving! There will be more to come, so if you would like me to keep you in the loop, then drop me your email address. I'll send you a message once a month to catch you up (and I'll also send you my free guide on getting started with your digital archive).
And if you liked the sound of The Comfort of Things, then here's a link!
Until next week!