Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
August 16, 2009 9:18 PM

The Legacy That You Are Building

Do we all agree that the Internet is pushing us ever-more closer to a real-time information channel?

Based on the success of Twitter and the recent acquisition of FriendFeed by Facebook, it seems that there is some kind of groundswell pushing us closer to a world where everything is at our fingertips in real time. Some of it we will actively seek out, some of it will just show up on our radars through the marvels of new media serendipity. Either way, it's making news instances flare up to the top of trending topics, but with so much happening at once in many little circles of influence, it also seems like the flames die down in a much quicker manner.

Newspapers, magazines, TV and radio did something very special that is now missing: repetition.

Songs became hits because after hearing them multiple times, we couldn't get them out of our heads. If newspaper headlines told us that our cities were filled with crime - day in and day out - it became an ongoing topic of concern and debate. When TV stations gave us Seinfeld every Thursday night, that repetition became something that we would seek out and look forward to (if the content struck a chord).

It's not just repetition. It's repetition plus consistency.

This train of thought is important as you (or your business) venture deeper into the many online social platforms. It's easy to show support for a radical cause in one instance, be grumpy and tweet out some not-so-nice things in another and then act professional in another passing moment. It is one of the most amazing aspects of these platforms - the raw and real humanity of it all.

Just remember, that this is a living and breathing... and this is your legacy... forever.

Usually when you read a sentence like that, it serves as a warning (the whole: anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion). But - for this one instance - let's look at the other side of that coin. Fast forward your life by fifty years. Think about where you'll be, how you are aging (hopefully, you are done with work and just enjoying retirement). All of this stuff - the big (an ongoing Blog or Podcast), the medium (acting as a corporate evangelist for the company you're employed with or your pictures posted on Flickr) and the small (your tweets and Facebook status updates) are - literally - a fascinating play-by-play of your life in text, images, audio and video.

No other generation before us in the history of civilization was this well documented. That is a fact.

Whether you like it or not, this is your legacy project - make it count.

By Mitch Joel