Discussion Using digi.me

Do You Have A ‘Digital Will’ For Your Online Accounts After You Die?

It’s not a particularly enjoyable topic to discuss, but at some point we’ve all got to face up to the fact that we’ll eventually die, and someone else will be left to sort through our assets and belongings. This process is coming further complicated by the virtual possessions we are increasingly creating, that often require passwords to access.

Historically, social networks have not been too compliant when it comes to granting next of kin access to the deceased’s accounts. Facebook, for example, will merely offer to “memorialise” a profile upon presentation of a death certificate, but even this hides features such as status updates. When the physical essence of someone ceases to be, what is left of them? The things they have said and done, and the impact they had on those they knew and encountered.

If we don’t take control of this data – our everyday musings, comments on photographs, messages to and from friends and loved ones etc – while we are still alive and breathing, then we run the risk of it all being jettisoned by the host organism (the likes of Twitter, Facebook et al) when they receive notification that one of their one billion users has posted a Check-In from the other side.

SocialSafe is one way in which you can extract this content from your social networks and actually take control of your data. By backing up your data locally, you can leave it to whomever you want. If you use the password protection feature of SocialSafe, simply leave a note of that password in an envelope with your will, and your executor can access this data and do with it what you wish.

Of course there may be parts of your full SocialSafe journal that you don’t want to be seen by anyone, even after you have gone. To make sure the correct content is viewed, you can regularly export the parts you’d like to be passed on and then save them in a location on your computer that you make mention of in your will.

Everyone will have different ideas about what they’d like to happen to their online legacy when they are gone. Ultimately it is a personal decision that means those left behind will either be provided with or deprived of a collection of memories of their time with the departed. The key thing is to take control of this data now so that the decision belongs to you, not the company that hosts your data – along with that of another billion users – on a chilly server farm somewhere near the Arctic Circle.


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  2. I have a question: you said you can back up the data locally and create a password for it, but I guess you also have to leave all the passwords for all the sites that you’re connected on?

  3. You’re both right, it’s not a particularly nice thing to have to consider, but a lot of things in life (and ultimately death) aren’t. People will make a will to determine what happens to generic possessions that they have purchased over their lives such as vehicles, household goods, golf clubs etc – all of which are mass produced and rather impersonal. So why shouldn’t people include the more personal traces of their existence, the things they themselves created – their social network updates and other content?

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