Who cleans up our digital mess after we’re gone? Who tidies up our loose ends and let’s our non-IRL friends know we’ve passed away? I’ve heard there are procedures setup for the Rapture (See After The Rapture). Apparently, they think email will still work post-Rapture–such optimism. There’s an email address and a website: youvebeenleftbehind.com. I guess they expect the internet and many servers to function as normal.. what does that say about the IT people?
I started pondering the vast digital graveyards already on the internet. If I were to die tomorrow, would all of my social media accounts just do a hard-stop? No more tweets, no new LinkedIn connections, no entries for my street team in Runkeeper, no new Pins on Pinterest, no Instagrams, no Vines, no more blog posts, no Facebook updates. Although people can still interact with my digital ghost by mentioning me, retweeting past tweets, repinning my Pins, +1 past Google Plus updates, and posting things on my Facebook wall that I’ll never see. We have digital graveyards even alive – think of all the programs where you’ve setup an account just to kick the tires and then decided it wasn’t worth it (Pictarine, Groupon, Path, My Space).
What happens to all of this digital refuse–online flotsam & jetsam if you will? Many of these services are free, so they don’t close the account for non-payment. If you don’t use an account for a certain number of years, is the data purged? How will all this affect the internet in the future if it’s not purged? Will your digital presence be cremated or embalmed? It seems like embalmed if we don’t have a system to shut it all down.
Do we leave logins/passwords with loved ones to shut these accounts down along with our advanced directives and wills? What’s the proper protocol? (Shout-out to my Runkeeper Street Team, don’t base my status as alive or dead solely based on my activity listing.)
I read somewhere that there are 30 million dead people on Facebook. Hopefully they'll shut you down for inactivity after a few years.