My late father died at the age of 47 when I was in my early twenties. He was a victim of heart disease and I have very many fond memories of him. Sadly, I don’t have many pictures of him. I remember him as a person that people were attracted to. He had the ability to make people feel very special. It made no difference from what background you came from or from what education you had, he was easy to get on with and he made a point of acknowledging everyone. That endeared him to many. Some say too many for in his short life, he married three times.
However, he came from a large family as well. In fact I think he had about 10 or more brothers and sisters scattered all over the world, prodgeny from his mother and father who also remarried on their life’s journey. Many of whom I have never met.
I tell this personal story not because my lot is different to a lot of people in my generation or to give you the impression that my early years were difficult, for they were not. I always felt loved and had the support of amazing family throughout my growing years.
I tell it so that you can reflect on the journeys that digital natives, or those born into a world of computers, as apposed to digital immigrants such as myself, will face.
These days, due to “humanities super computer” commonly known as the internet, new forms of communication have arisen. Out has gone the fax machines, snail mail and the landlines in favour of laptop’s smartphones and iPads. The internet has provided new tools of communication, ones which are far more interesting than the outdated modes of the past. So in steps Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Bloger, Pinterest and about one hundred others.
What has changed though, is that the people who use these services, leave a digital footprint of their lives for all (dependent on security settings) to see. Your place in history is recorded forever. So we see evidence of relationships, social gatherings, your friends opinions and over time, breakups, new relationships and new friendships. In fact we get a very intimate view of a persons life as they mature and advance. Many of the pictures that form this curated reflection of our life does not reside in our own profile but on the timelines of those in our friendship circle.
The old adage of you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny may not be entirely true, but I sure can wince when seeing some of the outfits my mother dressed me in in my younger days. Certainly my fathers comments about my mother putting a potty on my head when she cut my hair seem to be realistic and fair. So for now, thank goodness that my mother is not on Facebook. My poor kids on the other hand have no such luck…
I can picture my grandchildren’s children looking back generations to form a very good idea of the types of lives we lead. An incredible memoir for each of us. So much more richer than looking at faded Kodak photo’s sometimes kept in mouldy old suitcases and albums which deteriorate over time. Your digital legacy will probably be of interest for at least 200 years.
This is just another example of how the internet has formed a culture of openness, transparency, collaboration and empowerment through knowledge.
So the thought for this day is to reflect on how you are digitally curating your life and how are you constructing your digital legacy for generations to come. How will they learn from your life and what are you doing to create a legacy worthy of your memory which will allow your goals, dreams, aspirations and shared knowledge shine through.