You can’t take it with you, but you can back it up

Get out your highlighters and try to contain your disbelief: I did something on my to-do list.

A few weeks back I wrote about my tech to-do list – a bunch of digital chores that needed saved, deleted, backed-up and wiped. One of the tasks was to finally update my iPhone to the new operating system, which I was loath to do for fear that I would lose all of my stuff.

I backed up my photos and videos, but all of those lovely text messages and apps were at stake.

Once I finally cleared out enough space to do the update (sorry, SongPop), I crossed my fingers and hoped there wouldn’t be a white expanse of message-less and photo-less screens.

Thankfully, the Apple gods were kind, and all 1,400 of my photos transferred, along with countless texts and even my beloved Guess The ’90s app.

So, why the worry? Everyone I know updated without calamity. Even so, if I was taken back to zero phone-wise, everything that wasn’t backed up was surely not worth operating at a slightly lower function (oh, the horror!).

All of those little bits and megabytes are part of you, I suppose. Photos, videos, music – we are slowly building up our digital legacy, which, even though intangible, can be worth more than Bitcoin.

Yes, I don’t really need to keep all 20 shots of this homemade mac and cheese I made. Or every angle of this old rusted tin can I found in an old building in downtown Youngstown.

But I treasure every frame taken at this great party I had when I first moved into my apartment, or of my vacation to the Bahamas. Of my family, my friends, my dogs. Every blue sky and clear lake. Every season at Mill Creek Park, every Christmas or Halloween.

Not to mention the hundreds of gigs of music. Where would I be without every song I ever loved at my immediate disposal? I know that we shouldn’t be spoiled by technology, but once you’ve had it easy, it’s hard to go back to lugging around giant books of CDs that slide around the floor of your car and get dirty footprints on them.

If we form attachments to invisible things made up of millions of 1s and 0s, does that make the sentiment less … sentimenty? It’s no dusty photo album.

Is this a generational thing? Even my mom subscribes to a backup service that stores all of our precious family mementos and records for an annual fee. No way is she losing those photos of the time she and my aunt met Metallica.

Will we be rocking in hover-rocking chairs in some nursing home in 2065, clutching our tiny microchips of memories? By then we surely will be able to project digital slideshows using our very minds. How many terabytes, petabytes, googlebytes, will I have amassed?

Just as long as I still have my Weezer discography and complete “Ren & Stimpy” episode collection, then I will rock happily. Hopefully by then, we will have Google Fiber.

Got a digital legacy? Tell me about it at