Marketing | Environment | Culture

Permanence: Online Testimony to Your Personal Brand and Legacy

I’ve been doing marketing and promotion inside local television stations for more than a decade.  Nearly everything we do is highly perishable, especially in the linear broadcast.  It must affect my mindset, because two instances today – neither especially profound – open-hand slapped me in the face with the idea of permanence.

These instances immediately took me back to a Vaynerchuk take (find it at 19:30) on staying mindful of the fact that our great great grandchildren will be able to see much of what we do.

Instance 1: The final button on an interesting little case study by Darren Dahl in Inc. about a legal and PR crisis faced by Tagged.  I won’t go into the details of the saga, brief as it was, and will instead go straight to the closing quote.  “‘In the age of Google, bad press stays forever,’ says (CEO Greg) Tseng.  ‘This incident will be a part of Tagged’s legacy forever.'”

Instance 2: A blog post from Alexandra Levit titled “Google is Forever,” in which she runs down a young man’s persistent haunting by the press generated by a wildly anti-gay Facebook page he started with blind, youthful enthusiasm in his college days.  You can delete the page, but you can’t delete the press.  He professes great embarrassment it now and alleges it’s prevented him from being hired recently.  (Note: the post was brought to my attention by Dan Schawbel)

The takeaway: We’re building our legacy every day, one decision at a time.  Whatever’s online is testimony to that legacy.

And just for fun … a 3 year old rant (and I mean rant in the best way) on legacy vs currency:




  1. Mack McLaughlin


    Great reminder, people don’t realize the staying power of the internet, maybe someday someone will create a scrubbing app. (just saw a story on Personal Social Media Assistants)

    I did a seminar recently for College students on using Social Media to land a job and one of the most important takeaways was that nearly 80% of employers check your Social pages before offering a position so you must keep them clean and professional.

    I guess maybe the old saying that “All Press is Good Press” only worked when it wasn’t search able on the web.

  2. Ethan Beute

    I’ve not read with any depth on this, but what I have seen talks about the incomplete nature of scrubbing (not that it can’t get better).

    Re: hiring – yeah, most of us (30+) have had the benefit of creating our online presence from a more professional point of view (didn’t exist in hs or college)! That said, it’s important to be true to self (rather than sanitized completely).

    As always, I appreciate you reading and commenting, Mack!

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