Digital Estate

my lasting imprint online

Room For More

Posted by Paul on February 18, 2009

AmberShortly after making the decision to create a place in my life for a child, I started to consider my own place in the world. All the usual questions about contribution to society and personal success or failure came to mind. One question stuck: what would life be like for my kid when I wasn’t around? What legacy would I leave my offspring?

The obvious answers came first: I’d like for my daughter to be a good person, well educated, financially secure, and culturally aware.  So I built those goals into the long term plan, made a will and was satisfied….. that I had somewhat missed the point.  After that, I added all the precious items and memorabilia that I had acquired during my life and travels to my will.  This improved the situation a little and my mind turned to the important business of bottles and bouncing babies.

It was a short while later that my mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and the final piece of the puzzle dropped into view. The only things that really count are the memories, experiences and wisdom that are left behind. Typically when we think about heirlooms, we think about the tangible, but when you peel back the layers it’s the memories that you associate with these objects that bind you to them, rather than their aesthetics.

We have a unique opportunity, (a moment in history if you like), to harness the power of the nascent information age, and apply it to enhancing our emotional wealth. Having access to a family Digital Estate and all the wealth of wisdom and knowledge contained in it, is a powerful asset for our children in understanding and integrating into a complex society.  I, for one believe that in a world where the pace of change is so rapid knowing where you come from is as important as where you are headed.

In a recent interview on the CBC Radio show Spark, I talked with Nora about how the gift we leave to future generations can be a testament to our openness and a true recognition of the importance of a richer cultural and personal life record.

Sound a little cliché? Well maybe it is; but then isn’t life sometimes? with it’s mix “run of the mill” and almost unbelievable variation –  the question asked by Dominic on the Spark blog is, “… are we doing a good enough job at immortalizing our lives online?”   My question is, don’t future generations deserve to receive something that reflects the full range of our experiences from a unique point in our life history?

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2 Responses to “Room For More”

  1. Glen Armstrong said

    Dear Paul, I heard a bit of your interview with Nora Young. You both mispronounced “genealogy” (short ‘a’ in middle). It’s less common to murder ‘genealogical’, and I’m glad to report, you didn’t.
    Thanks, Glen A.

    • Paul said

      haha, yes thanks for your comment Glen, in common use its often mispronounced. Its difficult to know whether to correct that or not. In this case I think, I fell into the trap of repeating Nora’s mispronunciation. I hope people dont hold it against us too much !

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