November 30, 2022

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Aleksander Kowal

Digital aggregation is a problem that can affect all of us

Digital assembly can be better defined as an intrusive need to collect and store different types of virtual content, for example images. As the authors explain, the way we interact with digital content via smartphones, social media, and messaging apps exacerbates the behavior they describe. Social media encourages us to collect these kinds of things, and our brains produce dopamine when we get likes or comments.

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Gathering can be a disorder in itself or a symptom of another mental problem, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Even the thought of getting rid of items (or digital content) causes a person inconvenience. As a result, there is an excessive accumulation of things, regardless of their true value. In the case of virtual materials, scholars suggest that digital aggregation should be defined as the continuous collection of such content with simultaneous difficulties in removing it and a tendency to collect it.

Darshana Sedera and colleagues analyzed the profiles of people who had collected up to 40 terabytes of digital content. This applies not only to photos stored, for example, in mass storage, but also to those posted on social media. The distinguishing feature of digital collectors is the difficulty of removing this material. These types of people often tend to place a high value on their content.

Digital gathering has a number of negative consequences

Furthermore, the chaotic and unorganized storage of these materials can be apparent. A survey of 846 participants found that digital grouping can lead to an increased level of anxiety. Statistically speaking, 37% of the total anxiety level was associated with this phenomenon. Interestingly, women are 27% more likely than men to be affected by digital aggregation.

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The authors suggest that people who suspect a tendency to exhibit this type of behavior use some simple tricks to counter them. In their opinion, it is a good idea to conduct regular “cleanups” in which we remove unnecessary content. In addition, experts suggest indexing content, for example photos or emails, leaving all kinds of social groups that are not particularly useful to us, and providing content that exacerbates the problem.