Digital Legacy

A book on time management in talking about long-term goal planning suggests we define the legacy we wish to leave. Coming from academia, I typically think of a legacy as a name on a building, an applicant with an alum for a parent, or a scholarship. However, the artifacts left behind by previous cultures are also a legacy.

Our digital footprints both could be part of this legacy or easily lost. I lean toward all this data we spew about the Internet will be lost eventually. I have seen floppy disks and hard drives die, taking with them the only copy of critical data. I have seen companies report their hard drives stolen from their machines in co-location as why customers lost their data. I have seen companies close web sites because they ran out of money. Let’s not forget natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.

So we keep backups.

Who will preserve these backups once we are gone? Are you able to read the data from computers 40 years ago? Maybe we’ll be better about being able to read the data from past when we reach 40 years into the future?

Not likely.


Our digital legacy distracted me from the real topic…. My real legacy. What will I hand down to the future?

I don’t really have any property from the past other than some digital photographs. I don’t have any property whether buildings, land, or mineral. Those things belong to my parents. To be fair, they did ask me to take some of them when I left (and continue to suggest I do so).

Maybe there is some intangible something?

  • Expertise?
  • Values?
  • Accomplishments like a technique or a discovery?

Nothing yet.