Friday, May 15, 2009

When I Fly Away

When I had my will made out some months ago, (If you don't have a will, you should. Everyone should have a will.) something I didn't think about was what would happen with all of my online stuff. Our notary wouldn't have added it into the will, but I didn't even think about it. If I were to drop dead tomorrow, my online presence would just sit there for all time. My little corner of the Internet would just stay how it was the day before with no way for anybody to change it. This goes for my Facebook Account, my Twitter (I'm not a good Twitterer), my email addresses and anything else I have online.

As an example, my friend Sally died suddenly a couple of years ago and her travel blog is still up and will likely stay up for all time regardless of whether or not she would have wanted it taken down or changed, or to have a note there that says that she's gone. In fact, there are tons of blogs that are inactive. People blog for a day or a week and then give it up. What happened to these people. Are they just lazy or are they dead?

While listening to NPR Shuffle the other day (from iTunes: the episode was from 11 May 2009), I heard about Legacy Locker. It's a service where you can store all your log in names and passwords so that your online presence can be managed after your death the way you want it to be managed. You want your email inbox deleted? Let them know. You want your Facebook page used as an online mourning center? Put it there. They pass the information on to someone who you designate. They'll even let you write emails to people that will be delivered after they get confirmation that you have passed on. I love that part. I can write people from the grave? Count on it!

The idea of someone managing my online presence (or even having access to a complete list of where I am "present online") after my death appeals to me. It's the unfinished quality of a blog that just stops that bothers me. I hate when blogs just stop and there's no way to contact the blogger and say, "Then what happened? Finish the story!" Years ago, I had a blog that was about a job, and when I left the job, I wrote a last post on the blog - in case someone should find it and read it. (It rarely gets any hits.) I just wanted any accidental reader to know what happened - why X is gone - and how the story ended.

The cost of Legacy Locker for a lifetime is $299. That's not that much really, over a lifetime that I expect to be long and prosperous. After hearing about Legacy Locker, I suddenly feel like there were all these loose ends that won't get tied up unless I do something. I could write it down and tell Fred, or Patty or Kathy, but they'll be sad and it won't be that important to them. They might let it sit too long or forget. Plus, I like that Legacy Locker has a system. They ask all the right questions.

I'm not the kind of person who left high school and never contacted anyone. I know people who say, "I just want to be that mysterious person who they used to know." I want people to know where I am now and what I'm doing. And when the time comes, I want people to know that the time has come.

Legacy Locker is such a good idea. To me, it's one of those, "Of course!" ideas. You can shoot holes through it (how do you know they're not just taking the login names and passwords and screwing with you?), but I think it's a fascinating idea.

And, amazingly, this was not a paid advertisement.


Jane said...

Its a great idea Andy, It bothers me that when someone dies in an accident or something, the media start to hit their facebook site and blog to get more information about them in a really voyeuristic way. This concept gives you a choice about what happens to your writings

patty said...

I am sure if you sent us all nice email reminders from the grave, we wouldn't forget something as important as taking care of all of those close FB friends of yours.

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