Social media is a part of daily life, but what happens to the online content that you created once you die?
If you have social media profiles set up online, you should create a statement of how you would like your online identity to be handled. Just like a traditional will helps your survivors handle your physical belongings, a social media will spells out how you want your online identity to be handled.
Like with a traditional will, you’ll need to appoint someone you trust as an online executor. This person will be responsible for closing your email addresses, social media profiles, and blogs after you are deceased. Take these steps to help you write a social media will:
- Review the privacy policies and the terms and conditions of each website where you have a presence.
- State how you would like your profiles to be handled. You may want to completely cancel your profile or keep it up for friends and family to visit. Some sites allow users to create a memorial profile where other users can still see your profile but can’t post anything new.
- Give the social media executor a document that lists all the websites where you have a profile, along with your usernames and passwords.
- Stipulate in your will that the online executor should have a copy of your death certificate. The online executor may need this as proof in order for websites to take any actions on your behalf.
This is a really interesting blog post (especially for USA.gov!) topic. It sounds so morbid, but what a smart idea. The internet allows for more eerie reminders of someone who is no longer alive, whether it’s gmail suggesting other people you might want to include on the email or facebook pages that become interactive memorials. It would make sense that there be a way to control what happens; however, as with “regular” wills, I imagine it has the potential to cause fighting among family and friends and layers of interpretation. With the internet and privacy settings constantly changing, too, it’s likely that the wishes documented in a social media will wouldn’t even be able to be entirely honored.