How do you show the incredible legacy of your grandparents to your kids? Perhaps the legacy is in the form of a business, a property, the freedoms you enjoy, the part of the world you live in or that hereditary unibrow. But for most people it's probably more intangible like the character, values or beliefs they hold. Whatever the legacy, we all owe a great debt of gratitude to those who charted the course before us. But don't you ever wish you had something more tangible in order to share their legacy? The Internet, technology and social media have unlocked new platforms to share your story, serve the world and leave a true visible lasting legacy.
I wish there was a way to look back on the life of my grandfather who I never got to meet. I wish I had some LinkedIn context around his career tracks, Foursquare check-ins of all the navy ports he visited, Twitter shout outs from all the people he helped as a doctor, Instagram pictures of what he found inspiring and random blog rants that gave me a glimpse into his true personality.
After reading Erik Qualman's Digital Leader, I've been thinking a ton about the influence of our digital footprints. For the first time ever, we have an outlet to create a legacy that has the power to impact forever. Erik explains it this way: "The big difference in the future is that our children will SHOW (digitally) versus TELL about the significant accomplishments of those living before them." A narcissistic legacy isn't worth sharing but accomplishments or inspiring feats that selflessly serve other people make for the ultimate legacy.
Imagine a situation where new generations proudly show Nanna's blog that lasted 30 years and raised $45 million dollars for children in need. Or they marvel at all the worldly check-ins Grandpa had in his lifetime. Or they weep over the inspiring Kickstarter campaign that improved countless lives of young entrepreneurs. Or get a chuckle over the ridiculous fashion trends Nanna pinned on Pinterest "back in her day."
If this concept of a lasting digital legacy excites you, it's probably because your ready to serve humanity with your unique expertise or knowledge. It's my belief we ALL have mega value and something that can serve another person. To have a lasting digital legacy for generations to come, remember...
Every post counts.
Every tweet carries weight.
Every check-in is etched in time.
Every picture tells a story.
Every video reveals a trait.
Every pin creates lasting context.
So make it count and the impact of your legacy will know no bounds.
Question: What legacy does your digital footprint communicate today? How will you mold it tomorrow?