People all around are beginning to catch on to what it means to have a digital legacy. It matters when you make a post online, be it a status update or your blog’s next article. There are times when we would truly rather just speak our minds, but are we considering what is being put on display for judgment by others?
Do we consider these things in tandem with what the audience wants to hear? There are often so many dynamics affecting how, what and why we post. In the end, it comes down to the digital legacy we want to establish.
When we think about this digital legacy are we thinking about everything that we should?
Blogging gives us this unique opportunity to be content creators of any nature, but if you’re looking for success, how do you find the right balance between your own personality and being professional?
Do you throw caution to the wind and choose not to care what others think, or do you consider the fact that your name is associated with the digital legacy you’re crafting with each blog post?
Today I want to discuss this growing issue in the blogging world, where we make statements, factual claims and personal opinions visible to all. Just how important is it to uphold a professional digital legacy, while at the same time running your blog in the exact fashion that you want?
Let’s start with blogging content.
Making Content Choices
So you’ve had a few blogs in your day. You’ve run your blogs the way you’ve always wanted to, and while some were more successful than others, you certainly felt like you were taking the right approach professionally.
Whether or not this is entirely true, it’s important to consider some of the content choices we make. When you decide on a niche, there are certain things that belong within that niche. These things affect digital legacy tremendously because they are a semblance of your authorship – the things you choose to write on. To make unprofessional choices here would seem unwise, right?
This brings us to an important decision. In a unique scenario, you’ve got a very controversial topic you’d like to cover. How exactly do you choose to go about covering that topic?
Well, let’s consider a few things that factor into how you should be writing on any issue, really.
- Do people have strong opinions about this issue?
- Am I making an effort to be objective in my analysis, despite my personal stance?
- Do I have sources to back up any factual claims that I’m going to make?
- Have I researched this topic enough to answer questions to may appear in the comments?
- Does this reflect well on the niche I have associated myself with?
The Reality of Your Digital Legacy
The reason I have chosen to bring these issues up is because we are often faced with writing on topics that challenge our own opinions. Even if you’re blogging about internet marketing, revenue or other business-related topics, there are hot-buttons out there for everyone.
You don’t want to put yourself in a hole by creating bad topic associations – or even worse, a bad reputation when it comes covering that topic fairly.
The reality is that there are a vast number of things you can post that will affect your digital legacy. It’s not a question of fearing what you can post, but a question of being comfortable with an association to that post. In the end, it’s just good marketing practice.
Social Media Plays a Role
As a blogger, you probably have a social media presence, or you’re working on cultivating one. Part of creating that social media presence is maintaining some amount of professionalism if you choose to associate your accounts with your blog.
Part of the bigger problem we find in the social media world is a freedom to say anything we want with little regard for how others are interpreting it. This issue may seem tired by now, but if it was completely resolved we would have been long past seeing those divisive status updates.
The relationship of your digital legacy between blogging and social media is one of pure personality. As you use your profiles to promote what you write, are you also considering that getting into a political argument with your Uncle Ron is seen by the same audience? You won’t be converting many leads in this area of the Internet so long as you choose to continue making yourself a product of negative attention.
The fact of the matter is that people want to promote and work with those who are respectable. In the case of running your blog in the most successful way that you can, you are responsible for cultivating that respect. A big part of that is considering that your digital legacy is inclusive of the things you post in a Facebook status or comment.
Another issue to consider is how much forgiveness you can afford.
Your Digital Legacy vs. Your Audience
It’s enough already enough that simply posting something online begins to establish your digital legacy, but what about the audience who’s seeing it?
I’m not here to tell you that you can’t post the things you have an opinion on. In fact, your audience might respect you all the more for it, but are the decisions you’re making going to cost you in the long run?
The unique thing about a blogging audience is that it’s a support group. We have created networks of people to help us, who in turn we also help. This positive loop of constructive promotion for each other isn’t something to tamper with, but this is just my opinion.
When you are making decisions about what to blog – again, no matter what your topic is – are you considering how it may affect your networks? Now, obviously, not every post you make is going to warrant this consideration.
A lot of the time, an article is generally pretty harmless. It’s when we get into issues that affect others that we must begin to consider just how much of a beating our online reputations can take. Are you prepared to defend everything you say, or to at least concede your faults if someone proves you wrong outright?
For example, even a claim that one WordPress plugin is better than the other is grounds for debate. If people are put off by what the claim that you made, are you considering that your response to this scenario can very likely have repercussions for the audience, as well?
It’s all about deciding what’s appropriate for YOU. Next, consider that your digital legacy is associated with the people who support you. Don’t put yourself in a position that sacrifices not only your reputation, but the reputations of those who have supported you.
Using Exposure to Our Benefit
The big issue is this: if we are going expose ourselves to judgment, why not make sure that it counts every single time? Part of being a good blogger is rolling with the punches. Being a great blogger, however, means that you roll with the punches and learn how to make everything work in your favor. This is smart blogging.
The next time you’re thinking about making a controversial topic your big break for exposure, consider the topic and what it will mean for you. We are, again, faced with the issue being comfortable with everything that we post.
If your name is associated, you should want to brag about it in a constructive manner. Whether it’s an article you’ve just created, or an old one, take the time to read over it one more time. Did everything you said resonate with the position you wanted to take? If not, what steps can you take to fix that?
Being so exposed, as the bloggers we are, it is vastly important to be sure that everything we post can work in way that supports a healthy digital legacy. The fact of the matter is that it’s not so difficult to do if you consider how that can work for you, not against you.
The final thoughts I want to leave you with are this: I understand that it’s not always easy to make the decision between pure personality and professionalism. All I want to point out today is that we should constantly move forward with a notion of being as professional as we can.
This means that whatever is most appropriate for you is most certainly the correct amount, because I’m not asking anyone to make sacrifices. This is merely a call to action.
Let’s move forward as bloggers with an awareness for what we post, and perhaps a realization that some things should be amended – whether it’s an old article or an unsavory status made years ago.
The digital legacy in itself is multifaceted, so it is our job to make sure that our blog posts help cultivate the image we are striving for. Beyond that, we are here to deliver content, and we should merely understand that it truly matters.
The right attitude about crafting a solid digital legacy could be the reason that you get hired, or the reason that you are considered an authority on writing quality material. That can’t hurt, can it?
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Feel free to share personal lessons that you’ve encountered in creating your own digital legacy!