What Happens to Digital Life After Death?

THREE years ago a fried of mine wouldn’t go away despite that he was dead and buried. His Facebook profile showed that he was online because he was on some service which kept him perennially online.

I guess some people must have even tried to reach out to him in disbelief over the message of condolence which piled up on his page. His Facebook profile is still on and the last time I checked it someone has posted birthday greetings.   

As our lives become so ingrained across the internet, the question of what happens to all that data is one the we don’t consider a lot. My late friend’s profiles are found in a gazillion places across the Net. After all, he was a net junky.

According to a 2007 study from Microsoft, the typical web user has 25 online accounts, ranging from email to social media profiles and bank accounts. But if you think of all the places that digital natives hang out online, trying to take care of their online presence in the event of death can be a real mission.

It’s long been acknowledge that one of the key challenges of the internet is the absence of forgetting. The internet does not forget stuff. Imagine being constantly reminded of deceased persons in your life when you go online.

As internet users, we need to start taking care of our digital legacy. More important, digital companies that are in the business of harvesting our information need to articulate what happens to all our information after death.

So, I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you think a lot more should be done? What should happen to digital life after death? 

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2 thoughts on “What Happens to Digital Life After Death?

  1. A friend of mine passed away several years ago. I like that her Facebook account is still active. It gives us, her friends, an opportunity to provide rememberances and leave messages for her — usually twice a year in commemoration of her birth day and death day. Her family goes online to read about how much she meant to us, even after all this time has passed. I think digital “life after death” lets us remember our loved ones…together. And I like that.

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