by James Wallace Harris, Monday, April 9, 2018
I’ve been using the internet long enough to have online friends pass away. I’m in one online book club that has had three members die. I’ve had other internet friends just disappear, and I’ve wondered what has happened to them. Sometimes on Facebook family members will post a goodbye. I greatly appreciate that when it happens.
Quite often I don’t know where my internet friends live. And even when I do, the standard of publishing an obituary in the local paper seems to be fading along with print journalism.
There is much anger directed at Facebook in recent weeks. However, Facebook is how many people stay in contact with friends and family. Few reports count all the positive benefits of Facebook. As many as two billion people use the service. In recent years, Facebook is often how I find out internet friends are sick, dying, or have passed away. It’s become the new obituary page.
We all need to leave login credentials to our social media groups in our wills with instructions to contact these sites after our death. And even provide a parting farewell to publish.
Social media is often dismissed as shallow. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. Maybe we should make it better.
6 thoughts on “Say Goodbye to the Internet in Your Will”
I’ve never thought about that – login credentials in wills. FB does offer a service that allows trusted FB friends to access one’s account if one passed away or is unable to access their account for other reasons.
I also appreciate updates on when someone passed away, though it’s sad news, and agree that it’s taken the place of obits in papers. My friends and fam are all over the world, so sometimes it’s hard to quickly get in touch, even by phone, or to inform friends since family members don’t always know all of a person’s friends.
A couple of recent articles about this topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_and_the_Internet and https://themediaonline.co.za/2018/02/rip-social-media-estate-planning-for-your-digital-assets/
Thanks, these are very useful. I need to study all of this.
You make a lot of sense. As you point out, traditional obituaries in newspapers are going the way of the dinosaur. Most people find it uncomfortable with estate planning and end-of-life issues. But, it’s essential.
Your close family and friends can surely post on your timeline? If you die, they are sure to do so. They don’t need your log-in details to do so.
Hi James. I read this article a couple days ago and I think you might be interested in it since some of your essays on here are about technology: how we use it and how it affects our daily lives. The article touches on those topics and more.