Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
November 16, 2011 8:55 PM

Legacy Thinking

It's easy to post to Twitter or update your Facebook status. Not much to think about, right?

Just because something is easy, it doesn't mean you shouldn't think about it. In my last Blog post, Liar's Remorse, I wrote about having one, cohesive reputation (and the struggles/challenges that come with it). I'm often asked why I don't post more personal information in the digital channels about my life (marriage? children? etc...?). The truth is that my work and my business are intensely personal. I spend the majority of my waking days working, growing Twist Image, trying to build my ever-changing vision of how I define "success." I use these digital spaces to focus on that area of my life (and, believe me, I take it very personally). In the creation of content (Blogs, Podcasts, articles, videos and beyond), along with having a vision (much like the editor at a magazine) of how I see/feel the content flowing, I often not only think about who will read, but - more importantly - how it will be perceived long after I am dead.

Legacy thinking. 

Personally, I don't tweet "in the now" (I don't Blog or write in that vein either). Before anything gets published I ask two questions:

  1. Will this content stand the test of time?
  2. Will my children (and their children) be proud of their father (grandfather) when looking at this?

Time is the true test of great content (and reputation).

This is why I don't (or try not to) use bad language, attack individuals, beat brands up and more. It's not the reputation I want... it's not the legacy I want to leave. This is particularly true of my Podcast. Think about it this way: in 40 years any one of your future family members will be able to go back in time and chronologically see everything (Mark Zuckerburg is on to something with the Facebook timeline) in sequential order... Blogs post, podcasts, tweets, updates and more. It won't just be a shoebox of pictures and memories... we're talking about a rich trove of content in text, images, audio and video. Everything. These future generations will, literally, be able to know you - how you were feeling at a moment in time - and parlay that against major moments in our history (think: 9/11, the Arab Spring, Occupy Wallstreet, and beyond). Wow... it kind of blows your mind when you really start to think about it.

Legacies mean something. 

How often do you think about how your cumulative online persona is this reflection of your true character? We're going to be the first generation to have this kind of documented, individual history that is online for the world to see. Most of the great leaders in our history don't have this kind of raw documentation available for the masses to view and review. I don't know about you, but I take that very seriously. That doesn't mean that I'm busy trying to manipulate things to create a manifestation of the reputation that I want (that would be somewhat inauthentic). It does mean that I respect the publishing medium. I respect the value of your time (right here, right now) and would like those who may be reading this decades or centuries from now to have an understanding of what was happening in the marketing industry and what this change means.


Imagine if we had these kind of tools in biblical times? Imagine the kind of discourse we would have had around emerging religion and conquerors. Imagine if we had these kind of tools as the industrial revolution took hold? Imagine the kind of discourse we would have around the power of communications and media. Imagine that we - each and every one of us - has this power right now. We do. It's in the palm of your hands (literally, because now you can create, publish and stream from a smartphone). The true power comes from understanding the legacy this leaves. Odds are, it will stack up to more credible and important content that evolves and finds its voice over time.

The easy thing to do is to dismiss the legacy (and power) and simply turn it into an engine of mindless spam. The hard thing to do is to create content that creates a legacy.

By Mitch Joel