Taking control of our lives online after death is a rather macabre thought - but similar to last wills and testaments when you commit in writing as to how you want to put your affairs in order in the event of death, you might want to do the same with your social networking presence.
We live an increasing amount of our lives on-line with social networks. Have you asked yourself the quesions: What's to happen to my Facebook and Twitter accounts? What about my YouTube videos, photos on Flickr and my blog postings?
In most instances, they will remain unattended to for as long as the Internet continues to exist into the future. In rare instances, you might be brought up on a Google search hundreds of years from now. If and when that happens, are you OK in leaving your digital past as is? Or would you like it to be attended to in some way, by other parties?
Today, you now have an option with MyWebWill to change some of that. This Swedish start-up is a secure online service that allows you to make decisions about your Internet accounts after you pass on to the great beyond. It address the issues of storing passwords and people’s wishes, so that their online identities can be shut down or handed over to friends and/or family members at the appropriate time.
The idea is to create a central hub, where you can plan what will happen with your web presence across all social networks, Web sites, blogs and games. For instance, you can bequeath your Farmville farm to a friend, prepare a final tweet or automatically send an e-mail to all your Gmail contacts.
MyWebWill founders, Lisa Granberg and Elin Tybring discuss more about their service in their YouTube video.
MyWebWill's 'freemium' model will deactivate all of your accounts, where the paid version of $30 per year adds more customization that includes storing passwords, posting updates, sending out post-mortem tweets, etc.
Granberg said the service can tell if a person has passed away by two methods. In places like Sweden and Germany, there is a National Registry that keeps track of all people living in the country and MyWebWill will cross-check their database against the national ones weekly. In countries like the U.S., they’ll need two people to act as verifiers. When you sign up, you’ll provide contact information for the verifiers and MyWebWill will contact them through e-mail explaining the service and their responsibilities.
Managing your online identity for posterity is definitely a growing market opportunity. Facebook recently began offering memorialized profiles for members of its social network that have passed away.
Of course, if you would like to 'outlive' Facebook and actually would like to deactivate your account before you depart from terra firma, you can formally 'kill off' THIS social network. A Web site, called Seppukoo.com, follows the age-old Samurai tradition of "Seppuku" or dying with honor. Like Samurai soldiers who believed in suicide, the site aims to poke fun at Facebook by offering its close to 500 million users a glorious end, when they remove their profile and/or fan pages and replace it with a memorial page.
Death to Facebook
So whether you go first, or Facebook goes first - I would say, either one of these two death wishes have you covered. See you on the other side - if you don't see me sooner!