I’ve been attending South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) this week and eating, sleeping, and breathing internet and social media. Yea, I know…that’s nothing new. But the fact that I’ve been doing it (well…all but the sleeping part anyway) with thousands of other people is. SXSW brings people from all over the world together to learn and share about the some of the things that make us tick.
In his talk about video blogging (and way more tha that) on Sunday, Gary Vayrnerchuk made the point that we need to keep legacy vs. currency in mind when we’re putting ourselves out there. His idea is, and I totally agree, that our work, our lives, shouldn’t be all about the money. Selling ourselves out can have a negative impact, especially if that hunger for money drives us to do things that are contrary to our beliefs. It’s that “to thine own self be true” kinda thing.
For many of us, our lives can pretty much be chronicled, through our blogs, Facebook profiles, or by piecing together little bits we find here and there on many different websites. The thing is, what we put online is likely to be there long after we’re gone. This means our friends and relatives…even our kids and grandkids…may at some point learn things about us that they never knew, and possibly things we wish they wouldn’t learn about us. Do we really want to have them find compromising photos of us, or stories of how we cut throat we were just to make a buck? Some people may not care, but I think the vast majority of us want others to get a good impression of us, whether we’re still here or long gone. So we have to ask ourselves what’s more important? Getting ahead at all costs, living totally in the moment with no thoughts for consequences…or the overall picture of our lives? Just as a painter uses brush strokes to create a masterpiece, we each create our very own life masterpiece, and I’m guessing most of us want it to be a worthwhile picture.
So, with Vayrnerchuk’s legacy vs. currency theory in mind, the internet may be a tool that can help drive us to live better lives…create a better legacy. It’s not that I think having our lives online can turn bad people into good (although I won’t say it can’t). I do think it’s beginning to making us think twice about doing something that may eventually (or instantly!) find its way online. Whether we’re concerned about potential employers, clients, family members, or friends finding less than flattering stories or photos about us online, many of us are probably more likely to fly the straight and narrow rather than getting ourselves into compromising positions.
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