One of my goals for 2010 is to write a blog series, so I figured why not hit the ground running? The Digital Tail is an idea that has been percolating for a while and I think it is time to take it on. I am sure you hear people talk about digital footprints all of the time, but I’ve always found this to be an inaccurate metaphor. Footprints are intentional. You have control of the path you leave and they are extremely controlled and measured actions. When I consider how social tools are impacting our lives and businesses, I just do not see this to be true.
A tail on the other hand seems to be a better description. It is long, clumsy and it drags behind us. While we can control the general direction, the path it leaves is never quite as neat as we would like. Now, more than ever, we need to learn to master this tail because if we are not careful, it has the potential to do a lot of damage to our personal and professional lives.
In the past, this wasn’t a massive issue; people’s memories tended to be short and forgiving. The digital revolution (or digital decade as many seem to be calling the these past 10 years) has changed everything. We many not have long memories, but Google does. We never needed to fear the power and reach of a few frustrated customers, but the power of their word of mouth has now increased exponentially.
There are also immense benefits to using your tail. If done right, you can carve your own path and leave a record of all the good work you are doing for those to see. That long memory of Google can be used to your advantage and help show people what you and your business are all about. Just like your customers, your own reach is greater than ever before and if you are willing to accept and wield your tail, then you will find yourself facing as many opportunities as there are obstacles.
I am a big believer that digital tools are going to have a dramatic impact on both our personal and professional lives. Over many of my next posts, I will take a look at how The Digital Tail can impact our personal brands, businesses, colleagues, customers, family, friends and something that resonates strongly with me, our children.
Let me know what you think of the idea of The Digital Tail in the comments section and if you have any advice on writing blog series (I think I am going to need it).