As I read the news for the past couple weeks, I noticed a number of stories that touched on organizing themes. The following subjects caught my eye:
Handling Craigslist exchanges
Would you like to sell some things on Craigslist, but finding a safe place to do the exchange of money and stuff has you concerned? Lily Hay Newman wrote an article for Slate about cities where police stations are offering their lobbies as those safe places.
Saving information before it disappears from the Internet
Many of us are keeping less paper than we used to because the information we want is available online. In some cases, we expect it might disappear and we’re fine with that. We know that stores don’t stock the same products forever, for example.
But what if you find something such as a particularly poignant personal essay that you want to keep for future reference? As Carter Maness wrote:
We assume everything we publish online will be preserved. But websites that pay for writing are businesses. They get sold, forgotten and broken. Eventually, someone flips the switch and pulls it all down.
Maness wrote from the perspective of authors whose work is no longer available to show to editors who may want to hire them. But for those of us who are the readers, it’s a good reminder that we can’t assume that creating a bookmark or favorite will ensure we can retrieve a precious bit of writing. Besides the commercial websites that Maness mentions, there are personal websites and blogs that the owners decide to discontinue (or which get taken down after a death).
You may be able to find a missing article through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, but there’s no certainty about that. Therefore, you may want to keep selected articles in digital form on your own devices by saving them to Evernote, by printing them to PDFs, by saving them as webarchive files (if you use the Safari browser), etc.
Preparing for your digital afterlife
A controversial new state law is making it easier for estate executors to access digital data — such as email, photos and social-media postings — after the account holder dies.
Many Internet companies strictly limit access to their customers’ accounts to the account holder, in accordance, they say, with federal privacy law. …
But under a Delaware law passed last summer, executors can now access online accounts without a court order, unless the deceased has instructed otherwise. Similar legislation is under consideration in several other states.
Silverman went on to explain why this may also matter to people in the U.S. who don’t live in Delaware. Her article may inspire you to ensure your own estate-planning documents clearly state your wishes when it comes to accessing your digital files. Consult with your personal estate attorney to get guidance regarding your particular situation.