Shock Doctrine: Changing tech practices after an emergency

Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine discusses the idea of disaster capitalism – how “big business” takes advantage of disasters and emergencies such as hurricanes and wars to introduce broad policy changes while “the people” are too shocked to notice. Now my emergencies take place on a much smaller scale, and I’m no transnational corporation, but…well, I guess the analogy is weak, but it’s a catchy title.

Here’s the context. I like information. Love it. I enjoy learning new things, reading about ideas, storing resources for future use. I read Tom Rath’s Strengthsfinder 2.0 and did the test — two of my strengths are Learning and Input. I joke about having read results from the first time I completed the MBTI and not agreeing with what my profile said about liking to gather lots of information before reaching a decision. So what did I do? I read all other 15 MBTI profiles, circling and crossing off characteristics, before I reached a decision about my profile.

So needless to say, when it comes to storing information available electronically, I’m a saver. I download files in a variety of hierarchical folders, and save bookmarks of interesting websites similarly.

And then my harddrive crashed. Kaput.

All the files and journal articles I had downloaded for a literature review of promoting volunteerism to the Millennial generation – poof. All the bookmarks I had saved on websites relating to a project on social marketing of engaged citizenship – gone. My favourite guitar tabs – not in my head, that’s for sure.

Why did I not embrace Delicious earlier? Delicious, “the world’s leading social bookmarking service.” I would consider myself a fairly early adopter, but I guess I didn’t really understand Delicious’ value – I thought it was about promoting and sharing good websites (which it is, I list my recently tagged websites on this blog). More importantly, Delicious means when your hard drive crashes, your bookmarks still exist. All you need to do is log in. If you don’t currently use Delicious or a similar web-based bookmarking tool, get on board. If you’re a small nonprofit without a server, do it now. Embrace the change before the disaster.

Have you had a tech emergency that caused you to change practices? Share!