Volume 14, Issue 2, Spring 2010
Yoni Van Den Eede
Collecting Our Lives Online
The Use of Digital Media Seen through the Lens of Collecting Practices
As we become more and more involved with digital technologies on a daily basis, we are in need of a model to make sense of what we do with and “in” them. Here we analyze the use of digital media by way of a collecting paradigm, since our online activities – centered on selecting, accumulating, organizing, and showing – strongly resemble the practice of collectors. In the first part of the paper, we outline the main traits of collecting practices, and discuss relevant online practices in the light of these traits, thereby tracing the contours of an online “collecting culture.” In the second part, we list the possible underlying causes and motivations for collecting, and investigate how far these explanations also apply to online activity, so offering a preliminary framework for the further study of online practices.