What Does Your Digital Footprint Say About You?

Imagine yourself as your descendants, 100 years from now, reading your posts. What will they take away about who you were, and what was important to you?

Why and how must you create a positive social media legacy?

Ever since the idea of “writing” was conceived, we humans have recorded our thoughts and occurrences of our daily lives in diaries or journals. They reveal what our ancestors cared and thought about, and hand down wisdom from one generation to the next. Social media has moved into space once occupied by diaries, although how we use it isn’t quite the same anymore.

A diary entry is often a thoughtful process. It’s like a mirror that reflects your emotions, and the events that take place in your life. A tweet or Facebook status update, however, is very much in the moment—the fancy restaurant you just ate at, or the fashion item you just bought. Worse are the trolling moments so many engage in – making fun of that oddly dressed person on the train, or attacking a friend because they support a different political party than you.

Social media offers a distorted mirror image of how people live because it often shows not what we really think or feel, but how we want others to see us. There’s pressure to come up with the shocking comment, the witty line, or the funny image, that all your friends will “like” and virally retweet. 

Why do we have this dire need to be noticed, liked, validated and talked about? Are we willing to do anything for it? Sadly, yes.

Social media has given us a superpower, but one which we may have been misusing. The digital world enables us to have a real-time dialogue, a conversation with people across the globe. It allows us to be close to distanced family and friends. It lets us put our thoughts out there, freely, for the world to see and maybe learn a thing or two from. But, we use it to gossip, stalk, and troll. We use it as a vent for our emotional distress. We use it to argue and fight with people over trivial things.

So now ask yourself this- What if every text, social post, email, and uploaded picture was forever — a digital mark that would shape who you become and how you’re remembered? Would you still use social media the way you do now? Possibly not.

It’s important that we understand the long term impact of social media, reminding ourselves not to post that photo, those rude remarks, or those embarrassing personal details because what you put on the internet stays there. This means, whether you like it or not, you are creating a legacy that will live on to show people a version of you that you may not really be.

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So take a few minutes today and scroll down through your Facebook timeline. Imagine yourself as your descendants, 100 years from now, reading your posts. What will they take away about who you were, and what was important to you? What will they learn from you?

Give them a chance to know you for the good you possess rather than the bad.

Here are a few things you can start doing right now to leave a lasting positive social media legacy:

  • Do amazing things online like creating educational groups, travel blogs or social service campaigns and make a difference
  • Turbo boost your own social media with happiness 
  • Bring your virtual avatar as close to your real avatar 
  • Compliment someone, appreciate the good stuff
  • Use a filter to filter out the negativity 
  • Declutter your social media, declutter your mind
  • Take charge of your social media

Social media is a communication tool that defines our age. If we change the way we use it, being more thoughtful and reflective, the ripples might just make a positive change in the world for years to come.

The new currency of the internet is positivity – How much are you worth?

A version of this was first published here.

Image via Pixabay


About the Author

Malini Agarwal

Malini Agarwal a.k.a MissMalini is the Founder & Creative Director of MissMalini Entertainment, a leading media lifestyle brand that creates highly engaging, multi-platform content geared towards India's Internet Generation. Malini is read more...

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