Death on the Internet is a weird thing. Social media accounts, websites, articles—there are so many lasting reminders of a person’s existence these days.
One hundred years ago when you died, your friends and family were left with only their memories of you and maybe a handful of physical reminders. Your off-the-cuff opinions and thoughts didn’t have much longevity in the world. Even if you’d written them down, it would’ve been hard for you to control your reputation posthumously.
Today, everything is different: Thanks to the internet, we have an unbelievable amount of power in controlling how we are remembered.
So, here’s a question for you…
If you died tomorrow, would you be remembered for what you want to be remembered for?
Think about that seriously for a moment.
While I don’t expect you to read this article and then go share every thought and opinion you’ve ever had online, I wonder if this will change your perspective on what you’ll post next on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. I wonder if it’ll make you think twice about the next negative or pessimistic thing you want to share.
Your reputation is everything. It’s also the only thing you’re in complete control of.
My great grandfather had a quote that I’ll never forget:
“There’s one thing in this world that you can’t buy or sell. That’s your reputation. You build it, you own it, you maintain it.”
We live in a time when you can completely control how people view you and what they think of you. A hundred years ago, that only happened through word of mouth—which, as powerful as it is, can be very difficult to make changes to. Nowadays you can put out a string of tweets or write a blog post, and people can change their perception of you or your business in a moment.
Now’s the time to invest in how you’ll be remembered.
You definitely don’t have to wait until you or your business are in crisis to begin managing your online reputation. There are so many things you can do to lay the groundwork for a meaningful legacy.
Have you been thinking about doing something charitable? Don’t wait a moment longer. Find an organization or cause that needs exposure and that aligns with your personal and/or professional goals. Use your platform (no matter the size) to help others.
Have you been dreaming of putting a big project, or business out into the world? Share that sucker on every channel you have! Now’s the time.
Do you have an idea or story to share? Something you want the world to know or understand about you? Share it—how else will we ever find out? If you die tomorrow without sharing your idea, that idea gets buried in the ground with you (or whatever your preference is).
Don’t leave behind a legacy you don’t want. Create the legacy you want to be known for.
We don’t know if dead people have regrets, but we certainly know that, as we get older, we start to regret not doing things. When it comes to the internet, we may regret not having left any evidence of the things we believe in, stand for, and support. And I’m certainly not talking about your thoughts on the next political candidate or if you’re offended by GMO avocados.