Do you want to be remembered?
Remember Hickory in the opening sequence of the legendary Wizard of Oz movie:
"Someday they're going to erect a statue to me in this town."
Legacy is a word you hear a lot...from parents and grandparents and great-grandparents (so many more of those in our time).
In fact, I imagine that at one time or another all of us -- every human being wonders about what they leave behind (beside my wallet and glasses that I am always forgetting)...and even if you don't wonder, it's the nature of living things -- in our DNA -- to leave markers behind...road signs for the next traveler...catalysts for evolution, if you will.
It's how all life learns, grows and progresses.
Yet in Europe a movement has sprung up called "The Right To Be Forgotten."
The concept stems from the desire of an individual to "determine the development of his life in an autonomous way, without being perpetually or periodically stigmatized as a consequence of a specific action performed in the past."
Without going into the details (worth reading), Google has been targeted as they are an obvious pathway to so many of these memories -- despite the fact that they don't create them...only create the links to what we and others have created around ourselves...a topic for another time...
Now I imagine that the Brazilian National Soccer Team, after its inglorious defeat to Germany, wishes it could invoke this new European ruling...the problem being, of course, that the information will always be there even if the links are erased and, of course, what Brazilian around today will ever forget it....
But there is hope....
Enter LeBron James -- thank you, Will C!
LeBron is arguably one of the greatest basketball stars ever to play in the United States. He is also one of the most polarizing.
In 2010 Lebron left the team that had nurtured him, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and joined a rival team, the Miami Heat.
Now in and of itself this was clearly his right -- he was a free agent at the time -- meaning that his contract was his own and his choices for the future of his career were his to make...or so he thought.
However (read up on the story), he behaved poorly as he announced his decision, continued to behave poorly as he justified it, and went from being the most admired athlete in the USA one year to the most reviled the next.
Over time, as he helped his team win two championships, the hurt faded in Cleveland, sort of, and LeBron mellowed, musing that he would have done it all differently in retrospect.
Fast forward to last week -- LeBron, again a free agent, has chosen to, in his words, "return home"...in his words: "Akron, Ohio, is my home. It will always be remembered. Akron, Ohio, is my life." And fans in Cleveland are ecstatic...all is forgiven...no need for erased links and mandated forgetfulness.
So...Brazilian National Team there is hope....
Bottom line -- the social graph that buries today...resurrects tomorrow...and the Right To Forget is irrelevant as forgetfulness is an anachronism in an always-on world...all that seems to matter is now..."I don't want to be remembered. I want the nice words when I can hear them" -- Jerry Lewis...or maybe not...the story is not yet over...think about LeBron...maybe we are all associated with something that no matter what sticks to us...for the good or bad....
Think on this...Listen:
"We just want to be remembered before something is set in stone." -- Bill Dana
In an always-on digital world, we have the two-edged sword of our "legacy cement" constantly being poured...hero to zero and back again before it dries.
The challenge, though, is to understand -- like LeBron -- that there is always something that sticks no matter what....
And that is the good news...legacy still matters...what you really stand for still matters. Klout Scores, FB friends, shares are all ephemeral....
Be something and stick to it...or at the very least tether yourself and return...ultimately we are who we are....
What do you think?