Vicki McLeod. Vicki McLeod.

Untrending: think about the legacy you are leaving online

There will soon be a billion dead people on Facebook, what we leave behind becomes our legacy

How comfortable are you with the idea that what you post online, stays online?

Do you get more or less comfortable with the idea when you consider that what you post today can potentially last well beyond your natural lifespan and into the future forming a kind of digital archeology?

Here’s a staggering thought: 100 years from now there will be a billion dead people on Facebook.

You may well be one of them. What do you want your Facebook feed to say about you and your life?

What we leave behind becomes our legacy.

My dear friend, Darlene Barnes Rosner, once posted: “I love that all of my posts are like an ever-growing, ongoing ‘time capsule’ of what I am thinking, seeing, and posting about— the Museum of Me.”

Rosner is already thinking about what her feed says about her, consciously choosing to curate her posts to make sure they reflect who she is and what truly matters to her.

If we don’t do this now, as we are posting and Tweeting in real-time, it will be left for our loved ones to deal with after we’re gone.

Failing to consider our digital legacies as we engage in social media while living means that we risk our data being up for adoption after we are gone. It can also mean that our digital footprint becomes a form of digital litter, cluttering up the Internet forever. Or worse, your digital presence, or avatar, becomes a digital zombie, randomly haunting cyberspace.

In the 21st Century, we need to think about what it means to leave behind a significant digital footprint.

It means we must engage with our loved ones in a meaningful conversation about what we desire to be done with our digital assets after we die.

Our online activities create virtual museums of our lives. We must become good curators of that museum while we are still living in order to help our loved ones understand how we want to be reflected after we die.

It may be that you want your digital footprint to remain intact, or to establish an avatar that will live on after you die.

In any case, you need to put your digital estate in order, the same way you put your traditional estate in order.

Think of your digital legacy as a gift to your heirs and future generations. Think of planning for it as a present-day act of love.

Vicki McLeod is an author, TEDx speaker, and award-winning entrepreneur who writes for the Maple Ridge News.

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