Virtual Life after Death
Peregrine Andrews, BBC News (May 22, 2010)
Last week, May 20th, was the first Digital Death Day, an unconference in California of funeral directors, digital identity professionals, attorneys, technologists, entrepreneurs and obituary enthusiasts to share concerns and probably a few crazy-interesting ideas about managing digital identity after death.
Despite DeathRef being followed by digitaldeathday on May 4th, I have been sucked into the void of Other Responsibilities and neglected to pay attention until, oh, May 20th, as the unconference was actually happening. Bad librarian! Suffice it to say, it looked pretty darn cool. It appears that notes, podcasts and such are still being compiled. We’ll link them once they’re up. In the meantime,
- Evan Carroll from the Digital Beyond writes a succinct Who’s Who at Digital Death Day post
- Susan A. Kitchens at Family Oral History captures some poignant tweets that address the major issues and questions while here’s a more complete archive of the unconference hashtag, #ddd2010.
The BBC also gets in on the action (article linked above), discussing the issue of digital assets such as domain names, sponsored Twitter accounts and virtual property in online games, as well as memorizing at social networking sites, or otherwise continued online engagement with the person’s profile, as though the person weren’t dead at all. This practice has been criticized as prolonging the grieving process, though others argue that it merely facilitates it.
Good stuff. As this post title suggests, Every Day is Digital Death Day — we’ll keep vigilant for what else emerges from the unconference and, of course, elsewhere on this topic.