The Morbid Side of Social Media: Digital Ghost Trail

There’s so much still to learn and figure out with Social Media; from how to engage effectively as a business to etiquette. So what happens to our Social Media activities when we die?

I was meeting with a client today and we somehow got onto the topic of a recent tragedy affecting their organization and I spoke of how I’d arrived at the scene of a young lady hit by a dumptruck recently. I later found her profile on Facebook and joined the remembrance group – but I couldn’t bring myself to leave a comment, it was just too close. Suddenly I saw how important and wonderful a person she had been to her community, friends and family. My client commented that she had spoken to her friend and said “…if I die in a tragedy, please delete my Facebook account…”
It struck me then; people are building a tangible, sometimes extensive, presence online in Social Media services. We’re engaged, talking, sharing, creating – daily. The average person likely has a Facebook, MySpace or bebo profile, perhaps all of them, plus up to three other services like Flickr and a YouTube channel…what happens when we die suddenly?
These services don’t “know” a person has passed on. Who has the ability to delete their accounts? Sure, they go “dormant” after a while, perhaps get deleted for lack of use. But until that happens there is this digital ghost trail that just kind of lingers on…
So, what would you do? Are there going to be special provisions in a Will now – “here are all my Social Media accounts and passwords, please go delete everything aunt Mary…”? Perhaps.
It’s a grim thing to think about at this time of year…but…what would you do?

Christmas Spirit Forced Down Yer Gullet

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