“Even the dead Facebook.” ~ Dave Lucas
As creepy as it has become, Facebook is the 2017 equivalent to the blog, on a much wider per-capita basis. According to Google, (and this is from 4 years ago): “Based on the site’s growth rate, and the age breakdown of their users over time, there are probably 10 to 20 million people who created Facebook profiles who have since died…. About 290,000 US Facebook users will die (or have died) in 2013.” Bloggers die too!
By way of The New York Times: “Facebook is among several online services that allows a designated person to take control of a deceased person’s account.” Dead or alive, would you really want someone else controlling your account?
But those among us who yearn for immortality might prefer to maintain an active digital presence long after we have left the planet.
For instance, as I addressed this dilemma several years ago, “Should bloggers pre-post articles way ahead of time? Assuming the blogger or wordpress or whatever system didn’t get corrupted or otherwise fail, bloggers could be dispensing advice and anecdotes to readers (and relatives & their descendants) for years after they’ve departed this mortal coil.”
Likewise with other social media platforms. You can write articles, stories, tweets, etc. and schedule them to be released at specific future dates. You’re almost IMMORTAL! Think about THAT!
“It’s a grim thought, but like writing a last will and testament, this has become just another part of death preparation.” Ah, again the Times injects common sense into the dreamscape.
Do we have a social responsibility to leave such a digital legacy? Imagine your own son or daughter reading dear dead Dad or Mom’s blog or tweet 10, 15, 20 years after they’ve passed away? “This may be a rough time in your life. Or maybe not. I hope you are happy! I want to tell you a story about… blah blah blah.”
And if a netizen should leave such articles behind, would readers, family members, descendants feel an obligation to read them or a sense of guilt if they didn’t?
Like those who prefer to write their own obituaries, with a little foresight and planning, you can begin writing and uploading future works for the masses. You just want to make certain that things you write will stay relevant over the passage of time. If you watch re-runs of the old Laugh-In TV series, each episode has a skit entitled “News from the future.” It usually starts out “20 years from now, in 1988…” You’ll immediately understand why you can’t use current entertainment and pop culture as any sort of foundation for future writings. Think like Hemingway or Shelley or Shakespeare. Pass along advice or tell stories that transcend time. You may be long dead and gone, but you’ll be more in the public consciousness than any of the cryobabies…