Speedlinking – May 7, 2010

A Digital Legacy

For generations, a death in the family has brought many transitions – grieving, funeral arrangements, wills, estates, etc. Among these are the physical possessions of someone who has died. This is often the responsibility of the family or descendants to determine what is to be kept and what is to be sold or otherwise disposed of. For physical possessions it is often quite clear what there is to be dealt with, but what about online?

What do you do with someone’s blog, facebook profile, twitter page, online identities Amazon and other online retailers? Would I want someone to look back through one’s blog after their death? Would it be healing or hurtful in the grieving process? What about the online community? Is there a responsibility to make contact with those with whom a person had contact with? An obituary in the local paper would not be sufficient for such a task.

This is an issue which I just started thinking about today. I wonder in a few years if this is the first generation that will begin to deal with such issues. What do you think? Should someone leave or clean up a digital legacy? Why or why not? If so, how would this happen?