Domino, Notes and videotape
Life of a file

Life of a file

We all deal with files on daily basis. They are everywhere. In emails, on disks, in forums and on Facebook. I’m sure you’ve created at least one file today, or at least this week.

But creating a file should be like planning parenthood. Are you sure you can take care of the file in the matter it should be taken care of? Are you sure it’s a good idea to create a file under the current circumstances?

This was the topic of a session that Omar Davison from IBM gave at ISBG in Larvik last week (read my first posting from ISBG). He pointed out that a file is like a person, with certain uses, certain attributes and with connections to others.

So, let’s look at a file as a child brought into the world. It will, hopefully, serve a purpose and generate value. When it’s born you spread the news and tell others about it.

You can tell about via email, via a forum or in the newsfeed of a social media. You can also find the siblings of a file and put it in a family context.

You put the file into a home in a community. Here it will meet people who will discuss the file and comment on it. Maybe they even will point others to it by sharing a link to it.

The file will then learn and grow. People can edit it and work on it simultaneously. In this way the child is influenced by its surroundings and will grow and change.

You can also choose who you don’t want your file to meet by denying selected people access. Or maybe you are bold and decide to share the file with someone external, outside your community.

As the life of the file progresses it will reach a point where it’s usefulness is reduced. You then retire the file and put it in a folder, or a retirement home if you will.

However, a folder is where files go to die, so don’t do this too soon. Files can have a long lifespan and be useful long after it has stopped growing. Because they will be read for a long time after being finished, they will be commented on, they will be liked and they will be spread.

So if you want to make a file, take care of it, ok?