These days most of us belong to some form of social networking. It simply makes things easier for us to stay in contact with our loved ones all over the world. Not only this - its availability and convenience have made it one of the most powerful marketing tools for individuals and companies.
I have heard that in some cases some people who don’t have social networking accounts for when applying for jobs, have been disadvantaged. It is now the accepted norm that you will have such an account.
I am sure that you (like me) know someone who has, in the heat of the moment, put some comment online which later came back to haunt them (perhaps you yourself have done this) - perhaps this involved your employer, family or a friend. We develop as people but our daily recorded life is static.
For many of us the death of a loved one is unexpected, and whilst we can put in place wills and testaments to safeguard our reputations in death as in life, I have to pose the question: What happens to our ‘On-line Lives’ when we are gone?
I guess that what I am saying is that we have to make sure that, whilst we are still alive, we have the right systems in place to remove these social accounts or we might just ‘live on’ in the virtual world. This is a strange place between life and death. I think that the image I have chosen represents this very well.
Removal of Accounts
Removal of accounts is not that easy, and by merely submitting a request is not going to help. A number of social networks require the following information before deleting an account:-
The question remains how many of us have a copy of our birth certificates? Needless to say, if we don't want our info on the internet post death, we will have to get systems in place to have it removed once we die.
Memorialising of Accounts
Some social networks leave the option open to memorialise accounts. In some instances "friends" are allowed to leave messages on these "walls" and even send messages. Regardless, this remains a sensitive issue: For instance, you might want to remove your husband’s account, but how do the other family and/or children feel about it?
Personally I'm very careful when it comes to sharing personal info online. At the end of the day: Will the generations after you really be interested to read about your fights with other family members or about the pizza you had?
We are often "forced" to join a site on the internet, because many of these sites don't give any details without an account. In how many of these instances did we just leave the site and never deleted our personal info?
If we return to our image, we are well aware that there are robots developed to do household chores, require the minimum maintenance and can ’’live’’ forever. Are we the living negligent, and are we creating a footprint to be the Undead in the virtual world?