August 31, 2014

Yes, It’s True: Services For Your Digital Afterlife Do Exist

digital afterlife services

Social media has become a part of daily life for people around the world. Facebook profiles and Twitter pages can serve as a primary means of communication as well as a public representation of the page’s owner. So some social media users have begun making arrangements for their social media pages once they are no longer able to update them.

In fact, the U.S. government encourages social media users to designate an online executor, a close friend or family member with access to online accounts and passwords who would be responsible for closing or maintaining them after the user’s death.

Digital Afterlife Services

Google

Some companies, including Google, also have features in place to let users designate how they’d like their accounts handled after death. Google account holders can use the Inactive Account Manager to designate an executor who can contact Google after the user’s death to gain access to their accounts. The executor must provide Google with a copy of the death certificate and other information to gain access to the accounts. They can then shut them down or deal with them accordingly.

Facebook

Facebook offers a different option. A friend or family member still needs to provide proof of death to Facebook. Then the user’s page can be memorialized. Confirmed friends can then view past photos and updates and leave messages of remembrance.

digital afterlife services

[Image: Facebook]

Twitter

Twitter has similar policies in place. The policies allow access to a user’s accounts after death.

But social media users now have some additional options to decide how they’d like their accounts maintained after they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. A growing number of social media management services promise to handle a person’s online presence after they’ve gone.

LivesOn

LivesOn is an app that can keep a Twitter personality active after the owner has died. This includes creating new posts and even interacting with other users. The app uses artificial intelligence to track activity on your personal account so that it can eventually emulate the activity on a LivesOn account.

To use LivesOn, a person must sign up and then choose a friend or family member to alert the app of the user’s death so that it can begin tweeting.

digital afterlife services

[Image: LivesOn.org]

Don’t want a robot to be the one to tweet for you?

Deadsoci.al

Deadsoci.al gives users the ability to create their own social media messages that will publish after death. The service is free but also requires a social media executor. Users can leave text, audio or video messages to post on a certain date or after death. These can include general posts to an entire network or personalized messages to certain people.

digital afterlife services

[Image: Deadsoci.al]

If you’re looking for a easier way to give your loved ones access to your online accounts, there are also services that can simply store your information and instructions.

AssetLock

AssetLock is an online safe deposit box that can store passwords, files, instructions and other information. It’s not specifically for social media. But you can use it to give others access to your accounts and instructions about how to handle them.

digital afterlife services

[Image: AssetLock]

SecureSafe

SecureSafe is another service that can store files, passwords and other information. It also allows you to designate online beneficiaries who will receive access to certain accounts or online assets after death.

digital afterlife services

[Image: SecureSafe]

DeathSwitch

DeathSwitch is a service that doesn’t require a designated executor to send out communications after death. The site sends periodic emails to users, which they must then respond to in order to let the site know they’re still alive.

If the service doesn’t receive a response in the time period designated by the user, it determines that the user has died or has been seriously injured. Messages, including account passwords and last wishes, are then sent to those designated.

digital afterlife services

[Image: DeathSwitch]

Other social media management tools like Hootsuite that were not created specifically for use after death can still be helpful in that circumstance. Users can simply schedule posts in the distant future and monitor or update as necessary.

Will you choose to live on in the digital world after you’ve departed from this one?

Grim Reaper Photo via Shutterstock

9 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles and feature stories. She is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, social media, and creative topics. When she’s not writing for her various freelance projects or her personal blog Wattlebird, she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

9 Reactions

  1. Just one more thing to think about!

  2. I don’t think I would like any of my loved ones using Lived On. I don’t want phantom posts from their accounts as it just seems like it trivializes them rather than memorializes them.

  3. Is it me or I just find it creepy to let accounts of their dead owners post on their own? I think it’s better to just utilize a service that removes your personal information and freezes your accounts to oblivion.

    • Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I also find it creepy to see an account keep on posting after a person’s death. Although I find the article right for the occasion, I still think that this is just too creepy for me to use.

    • I find the whole thing creepy. I think part of it may also be because I usually avoid discussions about death anyway. I don’t find any of these services tasteful. However, if people want to use them, their choice.

  4. Annie,

    Quirky services :) But those are interesting services (especially LivesOn) to know as I never think about this before!

  5. I initially hesitated to read this post. Now I’ve had a read, I do still find the idea rather creepy.

    DeathSwitch bothers me somewhat. I mean, what if the user doesn’t respond for reasons other than death and serious injury? ‘Last wishes’ would still get sent to the designated persons? Also, serious injury isn’t always terminal.

  6. Thanks for this informative post. Many people are not yet familiar with the idea of a digital legacy. There are many online products that can help in managing digital estate. I found one such product mentioned here http://www.wfaa.com/good-morning-texas/Tech-Tuesday-Social-media-wills-151526665.html called PlannedDeparture.com. But the bigger issue is of awareness and posts like these are helpful.

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