An addicted insider’s account of our real lives in the era of the realtime, social web.

Confession #25: I Want You to Follow Me After Death

What happens to all of our online data when we die? Our public material like Tweets and blog posts will likely remain online forever. What about our more personal stuff like Facebook photos, online bank accounts, contact lists, etc?

Some estate planners and start-ups are beginning to focus on enabling people to store passwords and other account information to be shared with loved ones after death. Some services even let you store an email to be sent out after you die.

As more of our daily activities have migrated into the online realm, the digital cloud has not only become an often indispensable work tool, but also an archive for the story of our lives. Piece together e-mails, photographs and other online notes and musings shared through social networking and you’d have quite a comprehensive picture of who a person was.

So what happens to our digital identity when we die? Odds are it will remain trapped in the Internet without someone investing quite some time and effort…

Many other estate-planning attorneys – and a handful of entrepreneurs – believe the issue will become more prominent as the first generations to grow up with the Internet get older. Several online services are already catering to users interested in digital life after death.

There is something scary about being outlived all of your shared and overshared material. I suppose it’s worth considering that factor before you tweet, blog or post. (Altough I’ve always been more worried about old blog posts that will be dug up by the grandkids while I’m alive.)

I have a recurring nightmare that I get to heaven’s gates and am asked to describe my lifelong merits in 140 characters or fewer.

What Happens in Facebook…

140+What's Happening?
My name is Dave Pell, internet superhero. This blog provides an addicted insider's account of what's happening to us in the era of the realtime, social web. You can read more about the site, grab the rss feed, follow me on twitter, join the Facebook page, or get email updates.