Digital Immortality and Death 2.0
Scott Lachut, PSFK (August 7, 2009)
From one’s Etsy shop to a Facebook profile to a mega-sweet World of Warcraft character imbued with the investment of thousands upon thousands of hours (if not dollars), the extent and importance of one’s online presence is made most apparent when that person disappears. Sorting through and settling one’s estate after death has always been a headache. Now with many of these matters online, as well as potentially numerous and widely scattered social connections, preparing for death and settling affairs afterward on behalf of someone else comes with additional challenges.
In Digital Immortality and Death 2.0, Scott Lachut examines how social networking and internet culture complicates traditional legal and social death processes, from sprawling online identities to the ownership and legacy of digital assets. While the article is a bit general (I’m still anxious for the inevitable scholarly monograph on the topic), it includes a number of useful links to other commentary on these issues as well as to online death planning and “life after death” notification services, such as the Last Messages Club and Legacy Locker.