I’m in the Geek Lab this afternoon, in a session on “Taking an inventory of your digital life” by Rosemary Jean-Louis and Kristen Kuhns. Sort of similar to my own panel yesterday, but different – more about understanding the impact one thing can have on your digital presence.
They make a very good point, that you’re not going to end up in the history books unless you’re Steve Jobs or something. You are making your own history with your online presence across social networks, blogs, email – it’s not JUST your blog. You’re leaving footprints everywhere you are online.
In fact, it’s entirely possible the worst stuff about you online is not on your blog. For example, that damn Quake box picture that I will never live down is on GameSpy.com, not here.
A recommended list of places to check to determine your “digital inventory”:
- Ping sites
- Location sharing sites
- Your websites
- Websites that have quoted you
- Websites/blogs you have commented on
- Websites you’ve joined
They recommend using Google Alerts for your own name to catch new mentions of your name. I do this, but it’s become pretty funny for me, since there is a reporter with my name. Every time she writes a new article (which is a couple of times a week), I get alerts. But hey, at least I’m up to date on the news in Boston?
Interesting point about how your digital presence is more than just the now, but about your legacy. I admit, I pretty much never think about that, and it’s a fantastic point. Your children, your great-grandchildren will read about you online someday. Imagine if you could read your grandmother’s blog? How cool would that be.
And some recommendations on how to leave a digital legacy to be proud of:
- Centralize your identity – consider using Open ID or Facebook Connect (or other) to be the same you everywhere.
- Be familiar with privacy settings on sites you belong to and their policies on what happens when you die.
- Consider adding your username and password info to your will so your family has access to your blogs, email, social media sites.
- Consider an online vault site, or digital will (Entrustet is one company – never even knew this existed).
Ok, I admit, I NEVER EVER think about that. I’ve dealt with it from a work perspective, mostly back when I was with the LiveJournal Abuse Team, but it is worth thinking about. If I die, do I want this blog to stay here, with the last entry as whatever it was?
Facebook apparently allows family members to access a deceased user’s profile, but Twitter has no such policy. Most companies don’t, apparently.
Hotmail allows a family to order a CD copy of their loved one’s emails. Now that’s creepy to me. I really don’t want anyone getting my email history after I’m dead, I wonder if I can opt out?
Online retailers are in a whole other category for digital legacies. What happens if orders keep coming in and you’re dead? How does anyone contact customers, etc.
It’s also important to remember that technology changes. This is the first generation who will be online from birth ’till death – I’ve definitely seen that with my niece, where my brother bought the domain name for her website before she was born (even before he’d tell ME what her name was!). You’ll note- now that Alice is two, that website isn’t being updated anymore. Pics are private on Flickr. But what if Flickr goes away? Caption your pictures, make sure you know who’s in them, because you won’t know forever. That’s a great point for someone to make to me, the lazy girl who just uploaded pictures to Flickr that I took over New Year’s in Ireland! I’m terrible about archiving and recording things for posterity.
Fabulous session, ladies, very very glad I attended.