The only folder that matters now is my screenshots folder

The only folder that matters now is my screenshots folder

The only folder that matters now on my computer is the screenshots folder

A few weeks ago, when my friend died, I screenshotted a bunch of their old Instagram posts.

I’m not sure why. The account will likely remain intact. Zuckerberg seems rich enough to host a few billion photos.

But I still didn’t trust it.

My paranoia isn’t even Zuck’s fault really. There’s a bunch of other variables attached to ad-supported grief.

For one, my friend’s account is private. I only noticed this when I tried to share a link to a photo last night. My friend couldn’t see it. They were locked out forever.

Which made me start thinking about every other thing that could prevent me from checking in on these photos.

Maybe one day my Instagram account will break. Maybe I’ll accidentally unfollow the friend. That button is so small, so apparently unimportant, but I’d never re-added.

Then there’s some other, more general fears. Maybe Instagram will get bought by Yahoo, I don’t know. Facebook might try and convince users to switch to another app, and in the process delete the photos due to inactivity. Maybe the account will be removed in 10 years so some kid can have the username.

On the internet, and on computers in general, stability isn’t always a given and it kills me.

Most of the time this instability is my fault too. I can barely remember where I store my things.

It feels like my interest in Evernote flickers on and off every 3 months. I don’t know where half of my Evernote notes are right now tbh. Some are in Google Docs, others are stored in database files that I can’t really use that easily.

I’ve moved my other files from Dropbox to SkyDrive, OneDrive to Google Drive. I’ve lost things along the way, and I’ve moved files to portable hard drives, but I can’t remember what is where. Sometimes Google Drive fails to upload a file, or it just tells me that it’s all done when it isn’t. Sometimes I forget to sync a laptop before I reset it.

My photos, stored separately, are scattered between iCloud Photo Library and Google Photos. They used to live on that Dropbox app that Dropbox shut down for no reason.

But in a sea of changing tides and funky business models, my Screenshots folder is an absolute.

This one, seemingly dumb, insignificant function, the screenshot, probably originally built for tech support and developers, manages to serve as my archive for the digital world. With 3 years of screenshots and counting it’s even become a time capsule of sorts, one that I use unconsciously and religiously.

Especially now with Snapchat, screenshots are often the best memories. That app is almost built on a DIY-approach to collecting these little ephemeral vibes.

On my phone my screenshots album is filled with thousands of dumb, pointless photos. I sometimes use it to remember to download a song for instance.

But every so often something incredible surfaces. A photo of a loved one, or a funny conversation, or a long-forgotten rift that seems incredibly pointless now. I go out of my way now to screenshot properly good things, because my Screenshots folder is that versatile and that reliable.

There’s insults and memes, buggy apps and the occasional indictment (a screenshot of The Pirate Bay for instance).

And there’s also things that I don’t want to lose. Or at least, things that I don’t want to lose access to.

This screenshots folder is the longest I’ve ever stuck to one single archive. I still move it between services, from my local drive to Dropbox and now to Google Drive. But it’s always the first folder I sync to a new computer, the first one I transfer, and the only one that I backup separately in multiple ways.

It’s the only thing that’s stuck around and it deserves more credit.