It’s Time to Reimagine our Dead Digital Persona
We need more post-mortem digital products
During 2020 and this year we have heard stories of many people dying because of the pandemic. Last year, a young guy I knew for so many years died at the age of 38. We were all in shock because only his family and closest friends knew he was suffering from a terrible illness.
In the last weeks, I received on different social media platforms two notifications from him. One mentioned it was his 9th anniversary at the company he was working for, and the other, a birthday reminder.
I had mixed feelings after reading those two messages. One year after his death, his Linkedin profile was still active and sending messages on his behalf. I thought maybe his family forgot to delete all his online profiles because there he was.
And then I kept wondering how this was possible. It seems we remain alive in the digital world even our body is gone. Is there something we can do to disappear from the digital platform’s memory? What are the steps to follow?
It’s clear that we need specific digital products for the dead, but it might be hard to do when for example GDPR only protects those who are alive. When talking about these topics, there are always legal reasons and sentimental feelings rising.
The death-tech sector has increased during the last year and a half due to what we all already know. This industry includes, for instance, virtual funerals, eco burials, and digital wishes.
I wonder how many people receive a message about a dead friend, colleague, or relative and the mixed feelings that appear when reading that notification. In order to avoid this, social media platforms should inform us of what happens with our data when we die. We need clarity on this as no law, at least in the EU, protects our digital legacy.
We could write in our will what we want to do with our social media persona, but how do we make sure this is accomplished? Fortunately, some companies are providing this kind of solution, to make this transition easier and quicker.
Post-mortem digital products are a great example of the countless opportunities that are emerging from our nonstop use of technology. This is just the beginning, and that’s why I wanted to open a debate about this topic. It was something that kept me thinking over and over without any response.
Now I know there are companies providing services of this kind, aligning our thoughts and beliefs to what we want to leave when we die. Any step taken will not be enough to bring back our loved ones, but at least we will preserve their memories in a private way, not as tech companies would like us to.