WILL YOUR DIGITAL SELF EVER DIE?

"They say we die twice. Once when the breath leaves our body and once when the last person we know says our name." ~Val (Al Pacino)
This is a quote from the upcoming movie starring Al Pacino and Christopher Walken called Stand Up Guys.
What if your legacy outlived even those that knew you?
 
Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 8.35.00 AM
 
The Internet and the thousands of data points we generate are redefining our legacies. What we post to the internet lives forever. That may frighten some and energize others. I prefer to allow it to energize me. I prefer to leverage today's tools for higher influence tomorrow. And I hope you decide to do the same.
 
Every sliver of data shared to the web has the potential of building or subtracting your brand. Every digital interaction allows for increased marketing customization of the brands courting you. Every post has the possibility of being discovered by your children's future children or by a stranger halfway around the world looking for help.
 
Are there folks abusing people's privacy...yes. There always have been and always will be those foul people. Yet as privacy concerns erode among the next generations, we will see more and more transparency from personal and corporate brands.
 
As you participate in the digital age, you leave a lasting digital footprint in time. A footprint that future generations can use to gain insights to your legacy. I believe this idea will also cause increased accountability in our organizations and leaders around the world. 
 
We will soon see more aggregated tools in 2013. Tools that aggregate all of your digital content across platforms and/or time. These tools will tell digital tales of who we are or were. Tools like RebelMouse and Facebook's Year in Review.
 
Facebook aggregated your "20 biggest moments" of 2012 (see a glimpse of mine in the pic above). It displays your photos and status updates that got the most likes and comments. Also shows how many new friends you added that year, which pages you liked and how many people posted on your timeline for your birthday. Go to Facebook.com/yearinreview/[enter username] to see the year-in-review for any of your friends as well.
 
You might be thinking…who cares? Everyone…soon enough. A next generation catalyst will be your online influence. Brands will offer discounts and exclusive offers to those that are highly influential online. The tool Klout is only scratching the surface of this future trend.
 
To Millennials and iGen/Generation Z: Be intentional about building your online brand, for it will outlive you and could very well change the world. Strike the right balance between sharing personal tidbits and adding value to others.
To older generations: It's never to late to strengthen your digital brand. Start today, your legacy will thank you.
To parents of iGen/Generation Z: Be strategic and careful about growing your child's digital shadow. Create a strong platform they can build upon well into the future.
 
Al Pacino's quote at the beginning of this post is accurate for those neglecting to contribute to the wired world but for those who create value with their digital footprint, may never be forgotten.
 
Question: How are you positioning your personal brand online?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryan Jenkins

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