By Bev Wilkinson
The idea of living online after passing is what got me curious about what happens to our social media networks.
Even though the Internet is relatively new most of us have social media accounts where we store important information.
Without realising it we have said good-bye to writing letters, manually writing diary entries and printing photographs
Instead we have embraced technology and said hello to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, blogging and Linked In.
But what happens to all this information after we hit the pearly gates of Heaven?
With Facebook our profiles remain online even if we are not actively sharing our daily thoughts, someone has to contact Facebook about a person’s passing.
Relatives can memorialise or remove a profile by providing evidence of the users death usually by filling out a form with details including obituary information.
Twitter follows a similar process and there are options to close the account and obtain an archive of all the deceased public tweets.
However Twitter will not disclose account information or passwords to anyone even your relatives.
For those wanting to save their memorable tweets this is a link to some interesting tools: Read Write Web
Personally I am a big fan of Flickr the photo sharing website and I was really interested in what would happen to my treasured memories.
The official response from Flickr was they work with the Yahoo Legal Compliance team in these types of situations and if the relatives would like the account closed they will need to send a copy of the death certificate.
Through trawling forums I discovered there are several accounts on Flickr where the user has died and family members have maintained the site as a tribute.
Of course I won’t forget business professionals concerned about their online contacts with Linked In providing a simple verification of death form.
Some folks may like their blog kept online for future generations, allowing relatives to discover what type of person they were.
In a way a blog is a digital diary where all thoughts, hopes and ambitions are written in intricate detail, unfortunately for WordPress users there is no current procedure in case of death.
However a good idea is to chat with relatives and tell them where you have stored your user names and passwords
While on the topic of storage there are a number of online companies offering encrypted space for people to share passwords and other information.
Founder of Legacy Locker Jeremy Toeman says all the time spent online on social networking, email or even playing World of War craft is considered an asset.
“All those things are digital assets and they represent significant investments in time and a lot of personal value, “ he says
“As we accumulate these digital assets, it is becoming increasingly problematic for people to properly protect them in the event of their passing.”
For those worried they won’t get the chance to tell people how they really feel or want to leave a juicy secret till the end there is a site called Death Switch.
The site gives user options to write farewell emails to friends, relatives and secret lovers.
Imagine discovering your father created a love child through this way?
Even though emails are protected ensuring only intended recipients can see messages, there is one flaw if you become lazy and don’t answer the flock of Death Switch emails, they will assume you are deceased and goodbye messages will be automatically sent!
Personally the best way to protect your online geeky paradise is to plan ahead and write your digital assets into your will.
Detail how you would like your online presence handled after you have joined God’s posse in heaven.
Make sure you leave a friend or relative as a digital beneficiary who knows what to do with the information, there is no point sharing this knowledge with someone who hates computers!
Even though this is a horrible subject maybe some will find peace that their legacy will live on in a digital world.