We all have beliefs that differ with religion, and what happens to us after death depends on what we believe will happen, at least we don’t know if it’s true or not as we have not experienced it yet. Keeping that in mind, social media accounts have figured out a way to make things definite as to what will happen to your personal accounts on social media sites after you expire.
The After-Life at Google:
Life is sure becoming easier and easier every day in terms of technology. At Google, we have an opportunity to select the person of choice to whom we would like our personal details or messages to go to in case our account becomes inactive. This is sure a good option as I wouldn’t want my loved ones left behind to suffer for any reason. Let’s hear what Google has to say, “You can tell us what to do with your Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason….We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife — in a way that protects your privacy and security — and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone.”
The After-Life on Facebook:
On Facebook, things are a lot different. Facebook has the option of memorializing accounts, the features being, no one is allowed to log into the account, friends and family can share on the deceased’s timeline, content from the deceased’s timeline can be seen and shared with all only on the concerned person’s friends list. This is a very thoughtful approach through which the person can live on. Thanks to Facebook which always makes things better.
After-Life at Twitter:
This would be a mix of Google and Facebook, but it’s the catch line that I love, “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting” ;). The features include nominating an heir to your twitter account, who decides whether to keep it or not. Secondly, the app LIVESON, keeps track of the posts or feeds that the deceased user liked, and commented on, and continues to feed their timeline with the same. Well, these are a few ways that people tend to use technology to keep their deceased loved ones close to them.
MySpace has become almost obsolete; however, it may have been one of the first social media sites to have an “after death” option created. I stumbled upon the site “mydeathspace.com”, a site committed to memorializing deceased MySpace users, although, it is not affiliated with MySpace. To submit a death, one would simply provide the name of deceased, the cause of death, MySpace of deceased, and a link to the news article URL. It is actually a morbid little site because the way they display the names of the deceased MySpace users is by name and cause of death, for example, “Joe Smith – Died when he was stabbed 12 times in the chest.” Not a site I would personally take seriously.
A recent article in Biz Times, “Death in a digital world”, provided an interesting peek at the legal circumstances surrounding death and digital assets. In respect to accessing digital memories and assets, it “can become a complicated battle between copyrights and contractual user agreements.” One of the lawyers BizTimes interviewed, Brian Gilpin, stated “Not only can their digital assets disappear in an instant if any of those online services discontinue that person’s account, but if that person passes away, and his or her family wants access to those accounts in order to preserve those assets, they might encounter a battle between whether copyright laws super cede contractual user agreements or vice versa.” The legislation is currently being proposed in many states to have a way to legally override user agreements to gain access to those digital assets.
I believe it is very smart on the end of social media sites to set up an “after death” plan. Even if someone uses Facebook or Google+ primarily for personal life updates, every thought and photo uploaded are still considered a digital asset and there should be a way to protect or destroy them should the worst occur to the user. It would not surprise me to see more social media and networking sites following the footsteps of Google, and setting a way for users to control what happens to their digital assets in the future.
The #1 rule I follow is “Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst & Prepare to be Surprised” 🙂
Have a Good Day!