Are you an Over Deleter?

Today I created a video I wasn’t totally happy with, so I deleted, remade, and published it again.

The truth is, I’ve never really been 100% satisfied with most of my work. I wish I could delete or change most of it.

I have over 600 videos on my channel, hundreds of tweets and photos, and now even this collection of blog posts. I constantly have the urge to go back and hyper curate and refine everything so it meets a standard I’m happy, but that just wouldn’t make sense. I would spend all my time doing it and never have any work to show for.

Here are some reasons why I’ve wanted to delete old work:

  • What was I thinking?
  • I look so tired…
  • The lighting is so bad
  • I don’t like that angle of me
  • I sound weird in that one
  • What was I wearing?
  • I don’t like the way my hair was there…
  • This video doesn’t reflect my current ability… I wouldn’t want someone to get the wrong impression

These are mostly insecurities that if, I allowed them, would destroy my ability to create a worthwhile catalogue or work and rob the potential audience of tons of value they might have taken from it.

So should you delete?

Yes and no.

Here’s some reasons why it might be ok to delete or revise old work

  • A Crucial informational error that is fundamental to the core of the subject is present
  • Privacy issues
  • Legal matters
  • If it’s important to you to maintain a certain image or brand and you must make sure all available content aligns with that.
  • It just makes you happier

You don’t have to be a slave to your content, there are times when it’s ok to delete. The reason I deleted today’s video was because it contained a crucial fundamental error in the lesson I wanted to get across ( I create many software tutorials on photo and video editing). In this case it made sense to do a quick revision. (I know even leaving the old version up would probably have been beneficial to some for an alternate way.)

But heres another thing to consider… your old work and mistakes are constantly given new context by time, your new work and vice versa.

Take this pretty mundane video of a typical highschool day:

Checkout those fits

It might be considered pretty mundane at the time, but a few decades later and that same video untouched has now became a fascinating time capsule look into the 90’s.

That boring test video you took of you eating a sandwich? It might be historically monumental in 100 years to alien species investigating our planet.

Maybe you are starting to see the potential value you might be short sightedly over-deleting all the time.

There is this powerful compulsive force that makes me want to constantly optimize and delete everything. It’s a constant struggle to be at peace with all of the mistakes in your catalogue out there and living on the internet forever, but really consider why and where your reasons fall for wanting to delete old work.

Is it really helping you or hurting you? If you are trying to build something and reach an audience, I’d say 9 out of 10 times the answer is to leave it there.

Hopefully reading this has at least given you some new perspective and consideration of both sides, and you can argue with your over-deleting monkey brain a little better than before now.