Just read on Mr. Brown’s blog about the passing of a blogger that he knows. I followed the link and read a few posts. It was quite surreal to be reading something written by someone that you know has passed on. The difference between reading a novel written by a dead author, and reading a blog written by a dead blogger is that a blog is generally non-fiction and is mostly a reflection of their realities.
It is like reading a very extensive obituary written by the person themselves.
This begs the question though: what happens to your online presence after you’ve passed on? If you so wished, how will your loved ones get access to your emails and blog account for example? I googled and came up with some good links:
- BBC NEWS | Technology | Can you live online after death?
- A Stitch in Haste: Should Survivors Have Legal Access to Email?
- A Stitch in Haste More on E-Accounts After Death
- After you die what happens to your online presence? | Ask MetaFilter
The general consensus is that you should stipulate in a will, your passwords and how you’d want your online presence to be taken care of. Another good suggestion is to put all your passwords in a sealed envelope and give it to someone that you trust.
There’s also some dissenting comments that when you die, so should your online presence. Why should your loved one get access to your online accounts? I look at it this way: if you think of your online presence as similar extensions of your personality such as letters (snail mails!), photos, earthly possessions, and people that you know, then it is not an unreasonable desire for your family to want to get access to it. It is how they’d remember you by.
With respect to emails, if they have access it is then at least possible for your family to send a mass mail out to your contact list notifying people of your death. Some of your friends may want to attend your funeral for closure.
And with respect to blogs, if you never left instructions on what to do with it, your family may either choose to:
- keep it going as a digital memorial of your life, or
- take a copy of the blog to be kept by the family and then close it down.
Which is why giving them your passwords is crucial. Currently the laws are very vague about Internet companies giving the bereaved access to a dead person’s accounts. By giving your loved ones the option to handle these matters themselves, or according to your will, means there’s one less complication to deal with upon your death.
Apologies if this post is a bit depressing though so are talks about writing your will. Personally, I don’t think it’s macabre to be thinking about wills and the like. I consider it being responsible. As a blogger who will probably be blogging for a long time yet (hopefully! choi choi choi!), I feel that it is important to be thinking about these issues.