You don’t exist.
That is what happens when you don’t leave a digital legacy. It also cheats your mourners out of cherished memories.
A dear friend who worked in the media as a broadcaster died unexpectedly, with his wife, and in the most heinous way. It shook the community, and of course, there was a lot of local coverage about what happened and what he and his wife meant to the city.
This man’s voice was well known. Besides his regular broadcasting gig, he was a regular Master of Ceremonies at many of the city’s fundraising and sports events. But two and a half years after his death, if I Google his name, only two positive links (videos) show up: one is a video about his career for an induction ceremony; the other is a station promo that features three seconds of his voice. Every other link I found so far, and there are a few, are about the circumstances of his death or tributes with reference to how he died. His wife’s legacy is a little better. She did at least have a Facebook and a LinkedIn profile that show up on the second page of her results.
It is sad that the only footprint left by these two wonderful souls is an eternal feed that points to the end.
Obituaries are many times the only digital legacy left behind, but not always. Sometimes there is nothing at all. Such is the case of one of my closest school chums, who I last saw about five years after we graduated. I thought about trying to find her by her maiden name, and was heartbroken to find her mother’s notice of death: an obituary without a bio. My friend had nothing, not in her maiden name or her married name. Nothing.
Leave A Digital Legacy Or You Don’t Exist
Seriously, the only way you don’t leave a legacy is if you do nothing online. Making sure you show up somewhere is not about ego or narcissism. It really does matter in the afterlife.
You don’t have to be everywhere, like some of us are, but at the very least, find a couple of social networks to be in. If you have a Gmail account, fill out a profile on Google+ with photographs and a lengthy bio. Load your pictures publicly on a Flickr account. If you leave a couple of YouTube videos, I guarantee you they will be appreciated, along with your Flickr pictures and other media, long after you’re gone.
Unless you’re a dickhead and nobody likes you, then carry on as you were.