Critical Thinking… It Could Prevent Computer Nightmares.

Since I champion critical thinking I shouldn’t admit this but for the off chance that you’re part of the 57% of people who don’t back up your computer I’m going to share this with the hope that you learn from my mistake.
My hard drive crashed last week and I lost everything. Talk about a critical thinking fail! I have a mac so when my computer displayed the oh-so-lovely question mark instead of booting up I raced to the genius bar. As if it weren’t embarrassing enough that I couldn’t fully wrap my head around the breadth of everything I lost —  as if my pictures and favorite song would have miraculously been spared — I had to admit that I understood the concept of backing up but chose not to.
I’ve read that 89% of consumers are aware of the importance of backing up but that 57% just don’t do it. These numbers don’t make sense if Americans are more concerned about loosing digital data than being mugged. Granted, I was part of the 89% who understood the importance, the 57% who don’t back up and the 70% who have lost some kind of data.
If you back up your data – I can’t say that I’m not a little resentful that you have all of your precious pictures, music, contacts, documents and settings saved just so but I must applaud you for it.
If you back up your data but know someone who doesn’t please share this post with them. They should learn from my mistake.

If you don’t back up your data please allow me to illustrate why you should according to the RED Model

Recognize the assumptions
The fact of the matter is 70% of people have lost data at some point. I liked to think it wouldn’t happen to me but I had no evidence to support that. The assumption that I would be spared from such a horror was merely wishful thinking because I use my computer for “safe” things like word, the internet, etc. I still believe I should have been spared for not downloading but that’s not the way it works. I should have seen this coming because everyone around me has told me to back up at one time or another. Alternative viewpoints are telling, you should seek them out & listen to them!
Evaluating the arguments
Ask yourself: “what’s in it for me?!” and then tell me the answer doesn’t sound good. In all seriousness though you should recognize your biases to avoid confirmation bias. Ask yourself questions twice, once in the positive & once in the negative. For example I should have asked myself, “is my data important enough to back up?” AND “why isn’t my data important enough to back up?” “Why should I take the extra five minutes & care to back up my computer?” AND “Why aren’t I taking the extra five minutes & care to back up my computer?”
Drawing a conclusion
Weigh the data carefully. Are the percentages I threw around relevant? The source happens to be a study Toshiba did when doing market research for their backup solutions. Interpret that as you will but from comparing multiple sources I think the numbers happen to be accurate. Multiple sources can help validate information. You should also ask others to critique your plan. I didn’t appreciate it but my fiance had a fun time with his, albeit deserved, told-you-so lecture since he regularly told me my old “it won’t happen to me” plan was flawed. A SWOT analysis could have even told me that I needed to backup…
If only I had used the RED model! I may have backed up my hard drive which would have made this computer horror a minor setback rather than the nightmare it’s turned into. Take it from me… think critically and backup your computer!
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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Elizabeth Pauker-Silva

4 responses to “Critical Thinking… It Could Prevent Computer Nightmares.”

  1. Breanne

    Great post, Lizzie! This is so true of all of our risky behaviors- speeding, smoking, and eating bad foods. We know the consequences of our actions will be harsh, but we assume they won’t happen to us. Often we don’t think critically until after we’ve been “punished” for our risky behaviors.

  2. Heather Ishikawa

    To add to your comment Breanne…sometimes we have to be “punished” several times before we learn the lesson.

    Lizzie – I’m off to back up my computer.

  3. chadfife

    I had a similar fate a few months ago – although I tend to use my Google Gmail account as a free “back up” service by occasionally sending important documents and photos to myself. Therefore… backups are just a Gmail login away.

  4. Zac

    Interesting,
    I Heard about your story yesterday on our way back from the airport. I heard the “I told her to” .
    It’s very interesting how you criticaly thought it. I should learn more about this method.
    By the way, I’m sorry, but I promise I will back up next week…, or the next right after …. Anyway that’s something that only append to other ;-)

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