Look, I am writing this as quickly as I can because there are only three and a half hours before the world ends. I hope you get to read this in time.
In case it has passed you by, there are millions of people who seriously think that today is the last day of this planet. According to some interpretations of the Mayan prophecy the world will be plunged into darkness for four hours today, 21st December 2012, before the Earth eventually disappears.
Astronomers and physicists, however, disagree. They reckon we have another 4 billion years before the planet finally succumbs to the power of a hotter sun and is eventually sucked into the black hole caused by our star’s demise.
But remember, that too is a prediction based on the “evidence” available to these scientists. The Mayan prediction is merely another attempt to understand our existence based on the “evidence” available at the time it was written. We have no way of knowing whether either of them are right. After all, if we were to come back in 4 billion years time we may well find our descendants all laughing at our prediction of the end of the world.
Psychologically this is easy to explain. Humans struggle with knowing that life is a terminal event. We find it hard to comprehend that the “nothing” we did not experience before our birth was actually something for other people. And we find it hard to comprehend that when we finish our mortal existence that other people will live on and enjoy life. Combine the thoughts on personal mortality with our desire to work out why we are here and you have potent mix for any number of explanations that help us cope with the knowledge that we are mere temporary beings. Indeed, religions of all kinds have at their heart some kind of explanation for life which satisfies our struggle to cope with our lack of understanding for our existence.
The Mayan Prophecy – and indeed the predictions of astronomers – are merely devices to help us cope with our lack of understanding of human existence.
But – many people will ask – what if they are right? What if the world is going to end today..? Well, if it does, bye, it’s been nice knowing you. But of course we have no real way of knowing. Except one thing for certain that we do know is the world WILL end for each of us. One day you will die – that is a certainty – and your world will end.
So what will happen to your web presence when your world ends? You will still be there in the blogs you have written, in the websites you have created and in the social networks in which you have been active. Do you want your online presence to die when you pass away? Do you want your web presence to carry on as some kind of legacy? Who will shut-down your accounts so that they cannot be hacked or negative postings be made in your absence that you cannot do anything about?
We all need to consider what will happen to our web life when our own world ends. The world of the web will continue when you depart this planet – as much as you might not like to think about that fact. So what will you do now to plan for your web presence or lack of it when your world ends?
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+