Mink Machine

Online life after death

Even though I generally loathe the commercialized term Web 2.0, I believe social interaction on web sites is most often a very good idea. We create a lot of digital content today and it’s a fun thing for others to view and explore. We upload photos to Flickr, connect with friends on Facebook, write blogs, play games in online worlds and much more. But what would happen if a person suddenly disappeared or worse? What would that person have wanted to happen with all remaining created content?

What makes the online case differ from the traditional case with belongings is that the possessions does not confine to a single house or apartment, but is spread out on servers across the globe. It’s like a person with dozens of secret Swiss bank accounts.

I know it’s not a pleasant thought and I understand if many would rather not think about it at all. But it can make things easier, just as a last will would.

There is both a social and a materialistic approach to consider. Socially, there are online friends on various kinds of communities, games and forums which likely would prefer to hear the bad news instead of no news at all. Materially, what to do with all files and stuff? Does the person care for them the same way she care for a paper diary or photographs on paper, or is she content with it all going away some day with expired accounts and friends who may think someone just changed email address. Would the person like to have it all deleted due to integrity, or kept for prosperity?

There are of course a lot of different answers depending on person. What do you think? Do you care about your online presence after death?

2 comments

  • avatar
    Emelie
    23 Nov, 2007

    Hmm… That’s an interesting thought. I think I’d like my journals to stay online, with no restrictions. I won’t be there anyway ;-)
    Of course, I’d like someone to have all my passwords to mail and journal etc, to make a note of my apparent death. Or that it would be taken care of if I died, along with the distribution of my belongings, someone would be designated to take care of the internet-belongings too.
    Do YOU care about what happens to your website and so on? =)

  • avatar
    23 Nov, 2007

    Even though I generally write for myself, as a way of focusing my own thoughts into something coherent, I think I’d like my stuff to stay online in some way. Perhaps a modified “archive” version would be appropriate.
    Your idea of a designated person to deal with the internet belongings is a good one, since it would likely appoint someone with both technical skills as well as an understanding of how to do it properly.

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