Your digital legacy will be all those recorded-as-binary-data artefacts, ideas, opinions and ripples-of-influence you leave behind in your wake and that after your passing will form some turbulent impression upon this shadowy, shared virtual space. It’s unlikely that through our online activities any of us will make much of an impact on the path the world chooses to follow. It is also unlikely that, over a longer historical arc, many of these tokens of self-assertion will ever be unearthed and analysed, appreciated or considered beyond the cursory, fleeting attention any of us receive; we are all narcissists here, at varying depths and degrees of intricacy.
The online footprints-in-the-sand we are all leaving behind us here will fade, like words into silence after some celebration or battle; sharp experience and lived feeling to dull edge and well-ordered data storage. Should civilisation perform some intelligent manoeuvre of self-preservation and manage to climb out of the muddy, bloody pit of intransigent, internecine self-destruction it keeps sliding back into, clawing its way out of this mess without destroying itself – it might be possible that we will preserve all of this digital culture and communication indefinitely.
Beyond record in some vast government or corporate silo, all of this shared experience might one day become fodder for automated archaeology. Our digital trails are already undergoing automated analysis and commercial data extraction, perhaps our communications are also already the sustenance for some nascent Artificial Intelligence, just beginning to form itself some alien concept of identity and self. Perhaps some future literal alien civilisation will extrapolate our existence and extract some value or worth from the electromagnetic residue we currently seek to engrave into space and time.
If there is value in this moment and these shared ideas, images and opinions – it is in the creative participatory buzz of human communication and interdependence. Even this shared moment is rapidly fading into meaningless void.
Your digital legacy is the sum total of all those ripples you leave here behind you. It is no more ultimately substantial than is your physical path through the world but now and in living momentum, it is another vector, dimension and expression of whatever it is that is you. We share digital tokens here to assert personal and cultural self-existence but in the end and as far as our physical track or path through life or reality is concerned – transience and impermanence always, always wins.