‘We construct a narrative for ourselves, and that’s the thread that we follow from one day to the next. People who disintegrate as personalities are the ones who lose that thread.’

– Paul Benjamin Auster1

In the social media age, you are now responsible for writing your own history. There was a time when that job was the responsibility of historians. But, as the number of historians is few, and the numbers of the rest of us quite large, history managed to forget about a lot of really cool people. This won’t be the case in the future.

What you are creating online today is a living, breathing curriculum vitae: a history of yourself that goes beyond a mere résumé of your career to expose a much richer and more detailed ‘course of your life’. This is your tapestry of likes and dislikes, of thoughts, ideas and opinions. Social media records everything we are, as we express it and share it. Every exchange of social currency becomes part of your autobiography.

So, as privacy advocates will remind us, you need to be mindful of what you put online. You need to be clear about what you want to be known for and where your expertise lies.

The good news is that you are in control of the story: as the editor, the actor, the narrator. You are also the marketing person building relationships with your audience. This makes you the most important part of your story. No one else can take responsibility for this. The future wants histories told by the actual people who live ...

Get Mastering Story, Community and Influence: How to Use Social Media to Become a Socialeader now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.