What Legacy Are You Leaving Behind In Your Social World?

First Things First is one those legendary books that leave an indelible impression on it’s readers. I first chanced to read this book way back in 1994 – and has kept me good company ever since.

The book begins with a sentence that comes back to haunt me time and again, especially when I am guilty of over-working at office:

How Many People on Their Deathbed Wish They’d Spent More Time at the Office?

The authors – the Merrill’s make a pretty valid point. Everything we do in our lives revolves around the ability to leave behind a legacy. Anything else is a life half lived.

The same argument can be made of social media.

How many people on their deathbed wish they’d spent more time on Twitter? Or Facebook? Or LinkedIn?

(Replace with your favorite social media platform – and you’ll pretty much get the same answer.)

So if the answer to that question is an overwhelming consensus – what we do with our time in our social worlds becomes especially important. Are we building a legacy to leave behind – or are frittering away time?

Are there role models – and case studies for us to emulate in creating our legacies? Sure there are – read on.

1. Mark Horvath: My friend Danny Brown had a wonderful story to share on his blog yesterday. A story that brings out the failures and triumphs of all that is flesh and blood.

In Danny’s own narrative,

Based out of Los Angeles, Mark is someone with an incredible story. Fifteen years ago, Mark was homeless and sleeping on the streets of Hollywood.

But he managed to get back on his feet, and then some. He was at the top of his game โ€“ working in Hollywood, bringing some of the best-known shows on television to viewers across the world, a great future โ€“ Mark was living the American dream.

Then the economy collapsed. Mark fell into a mix of drug and alcohol abuse, lost his job, became homeless, and lost his way. He fought hard to get back on his feet again, and get his life in order. And he did. But heโ€™s always just one step away from being homeless again.

The legacy that Mark is building through his two projects Invisible People and We Are Visible is amazing.

The collection of videos, how-tos and self help tutorials that Mark has put together is awesome. This is one site that can really make a difference in the lives of the homeless and elevate them to prosperity.

Talk about leveraging social media to make a difference!

2. Danny Brown: Danny’s 12For12K project is a legacy that he is building.

12for12k is the combination of social media awareness and fund-raising that aims to change the lives of millions worldwide.

How will we do this? By using the power and outreach of social media to spread the word. From Twitter to Facebook, blogs to social media newsrooms and more, 12for12k will be helping our supported charities connect with as wide an audience as possible.

This social media-led outreach has resulted in 12for12k raising more than $100,000 since its inception in December 2008.

3. Johnny Laird: Johnny has been featuring a rich assortment on inspirations over on his blog. One of them is the latest episode of Something Beautiful Podcast featuring Eric Bryant. The other is a wonderful interview with Matt and Juls Hollidge from the Kore team.

4. Mike Cliffe Jones: Mike’s style of connecting with his readers is contagious. It’s a all disclosed, nothing held back, down to earth style that brings out the best in me, and leaves me wanting for more. Over the months, Mike has built a legacy – including some fascinating cross references like the one to Letter To Daniel.

5. Salman Khan Academy: In what is perhaps the most grass roots venture, Salman Khan, a Harvard MBA is cranking out quality educational tutorials on YouTube. Such is the impact of what he’s doing, even Bill Gates has been all awe and praise for him.

As this Fortune article calls out,

Khan Academy, with Khan as the only teacher, appears on YouTube and elsewhere and is by any measure the most popular educational site on the web. Khan’s playlist of 1,630 tutorials (at last count) are now seen an average of 70,000 times a day — nearly double the student body at Harvard and Stanford combined. Since he began his tutorials in late 2006, Khan Academy has received 18 million page views worldwide, including from the Gates progeny.

Sal’s example is a case in point that it does not take a lot a resources to make an impact using social media. All that is needed is creativity coupled with ingenuity.

With these shining examples around us to inspire and recharge our social media efforts, how is it possible to get lost? All we need to do is combine this inspiration with the raw creativity that is innate in all of us to starting building a legacy in our social media worlds today.

What legacy will you build?

(Image Credit: Stuck In Customs http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/)

5 Responses to What Legacy Are You Leaving Behind In Your Social World?
  1. Danny Brown
    Twitter: DannyBrown
    September 15, 2010 | 10:39 am

    Beautiful post and stories of inspiration, Kapil (and a humble thank you for including me here).

    It’s funny; one of my earliest posts about Twitter was how it was set up to be a perfect cause marketing platform. I haven’t changed my mind.

    I think social media offers everyone the chance to leave a legacy – you touch so many lives without even knowing it, your “history” is already being built.

    Thanks again, sir – look forward to checking the others out soon.
    Danny Brown recently posted… The 7 Day Blog Challenge

    • Kapil Apshankar
      October 2, 2010 | 7:57 am

      Thanks Danny – both for the inspiration and the support ๐Ÿ™‚

      You said it best – social media does offer everyone the opportunity to leave a legacy – and we’re all leaving behind one even without realizing it.

      Why not bake in the small things that make a big difference in our social world? It’ll just make the world a better place, one post – one tweet – one video at a time.

  2. Johnny Laird
    Twitter: johnnylaird
    September 15, 2010 | 12:21 pm


    Thank you so much for your kind words, which are humbling beyond measure, especially because I’m included in such illustrious company.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the Eric Bryant podcast. He and his friends and colleagues at Mosaic (http://mosaic.org/) are a great crew, and inspire me in one way or another almost daily.

    I’m not sure if you realise, but Mark Horvath was also a guest on Something Beautiful a while back, so here’s a link in case you’d like to hear it:


    Thanks once again for this gracious post.

    Johnny Laird recently posted… Plastic Pollution in the Oceans

    • Kapil Apshankar
      October 2, 2010 | 8:01 am

      Birds of the same feather, Johnny ๐Ÿ™‚

      I am amazed (and inspired, humbled, motivated…) by the extended world of good that my friends here are working on.

      I didn’t realize that Mark was on Something Beautiful too – will be heading that way this weekend. Thanks for pointing me that way.

  3. Jonha Revesencio | iJustDid.org
    Twitter: jonharules
    January 2, 2011 | 9:14 pm

    Hi Kapil,

    Sometimes, I guess the case for others would be:

    “How many people on their deathbed wish theyโ€™d spent more time with their family and loved ones than on Twitter? Or Facebook? Or LinkedIn?”

    I’ve seen how social media has helped people in many ways whether it be in connecting, selling, branding, socializing; among others but just recently, I feel that I must have been over-doing it. That I focus and give more time on my online presence than my actual world presence. I spend more time in front of my computer trying the best I can to connect with those of similar interests that I barely have time to hang out with my real friends and loved ones. I guess it all boils down to moderation and balancing things though but you get the idea. There are thousands of lives that are either made or broken by social media.

    Danny Brown has become my favorite. He is very genuine and unlike other “big guys out there”, he truly has the touch and passion for his readers and the people the MAKES time to read his thoughts and having you in one of his recommended links, I didn’t think twice and just hopped and glad I did!

    Oh how I love him and Salman Khan. These guys are perfect examples of people utilizing their resources PROPERLY and WISELY and I would forever be grateful for the POSITIVE changes they’ve brought through social media. They sure are touching lives amidst the many distractions the social media may create.

    “All that is needed is creativity coupled with ingenuity.” – Couldn’t agree more ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Jonha Revesencio | iJustDid.org recently posted… Recognizing That You Are the Problem and Dealing with Yourself