When we talk about social media, we’re usually warned that what gets posted or tweeted or blogged on the internet is pretty much there forever. You can delete it but there’s always a copy somewhere, somehow. In a manner of speaking, social media is forever.
So what happens when the inevitable happens? We’ve all got death at some point in our future and as we get older, we may even start to make plans about it: burial plots, living wills, pre-written obituaries. But I’m starting to wonder how many people create a plan in the event of their death.
Yes, it’s an absolutely morbid thought. I’ll give you that. But it’s a very real one.
I was recently chatting with several other bloggers at a conference about this. Many of us have been friends on Facebook with someone who passes away. What’s the etiquette there? Do you unfriend them? Isn’t that considered disrespectful? But if you don’t, you’ll often see ads pop up on the right saying something like “Mary Smith likes Orville Redenbacher popcorn” as if Mary is sending us a message from the great beyond.
Last year, when my neighbor passed away, his wife was left clueless. Although he wasn’t into social media, he kept a very organized spreadsheet of all his accounts and passwords on his computer. The problem? She didn’t know the password to get on to his computer.
If you tweet or write for a business, chances are that your passing would be mentioned and no one would be left to wonder where your voice went. But if you write a personal blog or you are a solo act, what would happen in the even of an untimely death?
One blogger told me that her friend has set up a partnership with a buddy blogger. They’ve exchanged passwords and login information so that if something were to happen, they could inform the readers and followers of what was going on.
As I’ve often revisited old blogs from my never-ending stack of business cards, I find many blogs are gathering dust. While many blogs are started and abandoned, usually within a six month time period, because our relationships are mostly virtual, we often don’t know what has happened.
Did the blogger decide that blogging was too time-consuming or unfulfilling or did something tragic happen either to the blogger or to a family member?
What do you think about death and social media? Is it something that more people should be thinking about? Do you have a blogging buddy?
Personal note: I’ve always told my husband that if something were to happen to me, he must list the cause of death in my obituary. Mainly because I’m always morbidly curious when I read them. We’ve never had a discussion about how an untimely departure would be handled online but I do plan to give him access to all of my accounts “just in case.”