What? Are you crazy? You can’t feed people with digital bits. You need real food like what the farmers I work with produce.

Yes, you are right in the literal sense. But what I’m talking about is how you will feed the right information to the generation you are raising but then generations beyond them.

schindler-family-50s

Les, Iva Lee, Jim, Dale and Mary Ann. My dad, Leslie, had the gun in his mouth.

You see, we are really the first generation to have a substantial digital life – posts, pictures, videos and soon to be 3D, 360 and virtual reality. Facebook just told me that today was the day I first joined Facebook 9 years ago. That’s a lot of me online.

But I also have a blog and a Twitter feed and Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and everything else you could think of. I’m on almost every platform.

There are digital bits of me everywhere and they’ll soon be brought together in a cohesive story that will be read by generations of my kin – people I’ll never know in real life. Am I ok with this?

Yes, because it’s part of me. And I’m excited that they will know a lot more of me than I know of my relatives.

I only wish that I had this type of correspondence with the past. I would love to see how my grandfather handled life as a young man working the farm.

Grandpa Les Schindler 1938-1939

Grandpa “Les” Schindler on the farm around 1938-39

Or my other grandfather who had a ton of kids and the family farm.

What were they thinking back then? How did they deal with the pressures? What did they share and laugh about?

I would go back every day to see. But alas there’s nothing online about them. I only have memories and very few pictures and video.

grandma-grandpa-don

Grandpa and Grandma Schindler with me in late 80s (I was in the Navy)

So yes, you could see social media as yet something else you have to do – like putting out good dairy farming messages and sharing your modern farm practices so your current urban customers can see all the good work you do.

But you could also see it as a way to communicate with your future kin – to share your life as you see it with all the ups and downs and know that people you will never ever meet in this world will honor it by reading it, learning from it and knowing where they came from.

If you think about it, all of your urban customers have kin that were most likely farmers – and if they could go back and see how farming was then, they might think differently about how you farm now – knowing the ups and downs that their great great grandparents experienced life.

So what’s it going to be to you? Is social media going to be a burden to communicate or a legacy you leave for your future generations?