The question really shouldn’t be what happens to your Facebook account when you die because that is not inclusive enough, at least not for me.
I have been thinking about this on and off for a while now. Been thinking about it because Facebook is where I learned that three friends had died and an aunt. Been thinking about it becauseÂ another friend died a short while backÂ but her social media presence hasn’t completely disappeared.
Not that I am suggesting it should.
I have visited her Facebook page a bunch of times. It is where many of her friends and family have chosen to congregate.
Even though I am quite familiar with death and have lost more than a few friends it is still shocking when it happens. And as a parent it is a stark reminder to make plans to try and minimize the impact on your children.
My kids are still very young. If I died today it would be devastating. It is part of why you see multiple posts here that are addressed to them. It is why I have life insurance. It is why I have had multiple discussions about what happens if they lose both their parents.
Where do they go? Who raises them?
Those are the obvious ones which is why I circle back to social media. I am a dad blogger who is active on multiple platforms. What happens if I get hit by a bus, have a massive heart attack or take a bullet to the head.
I know that there are companies out there who offer services for just this purpose. Ask Old Doc Google to give you a rundown on who they are and you can figure out if you are interested.
As for me, let’s just say that I am not sure what I really want to have happen. Would I want some one or thing to wipe out all of the digital bits and pieces that I have collected and placed around the net. Would wiping my digital presence clean be good or bad.
I don’t really know and I am not sure that it matters. It is not because I am concerned, worried, scared or upset about what happens after death. That doesn’t bother me. What I wonder about is what it would mean for those who loved me.
Would having my words be a comfort or a burden. This blog is filled with almost 9,000 posts about everything you can think of. There are posts on politics, religion, sex, life and all sorts of other stuff. Is it really representative of me and does it matter.
Not long ago an old friend posted a few pictures of us from college. Two of them show me in a state that is less than flattering. If I had the choice I’d prefer that those not be the last images people have of me. Not that I expect them to be. Unless something crazy happens I will be back at the keyboard, tonight, tomorrow and for a long time to come.
Have you thought about this? Do you wonder or worry about what happens to your Facebook account when you die?
Editor’s Note: This post originally ran here. I wrote it after hearing about the death of a friend and some discussions with other friends about our digital footprints. In the time since I first wrote it other people I know have died (friends/relatives/acquaintances) and it has made me think about the topic again because it is really not just Facebook we are talking about, it is the digital footprint as a whole.
Do we care about what happens when we are gone? Should we care? If we die unexpectedly will it be a frozen snapshot of our life on one particular day? What will it show, a witty status update pictures of our children, a request for help building a cyberfarm?
I might have to follow up with a post about this, in the interim I will see you in the comments.