Digital assets, seriously….

To my cousin Fred I leave Grandmas wedding ring…..  To my good friend Homer, I leave my snowmobile and to my housekeeper, Alice, I leave my Facebook account.  Does this sound preposterous?  Well think again.  Have you ever given any thought about what is going to happen to all your social media content when you pass away.  It’s sad but, when you leave this earth, your posts, emails, blogs and photos remain in cyberspace forever.  Last time I checked, forever is a very long time.

Here are some questions you need to ponder. When you die, should your electronic trail also die? Does everything you created, digitally, have the right to stay when you are gone? Do you want to continue to live through cyberspace so future generations know about you?   These are becoming very important decisions to make.    Does Facebook have the right to pull the plug when you pull the plug?

We are probably the first generation that has had to tackle these questions.  Besides there being legal concerns I think there are some issues concerning what is morally correct.   Should this be a decision you should make; one your family should or do we allow the government to decide for us?

Take a moment to consider all the information you control with passwords.  I for one have my passwords hidden in secure locations.  Should you leave those passwords in your safe deposit box? Should you leave a copy in your will?  Maybe you should just make arrangements that when you are gone so are they.

What if someone managed to get a hold of your information after you die and pretends to be you?  It would be like you were posting from beyond.   This gives new meaning to communicating with the dead.   Well, so much for mediums and Ouija boards.

Now on the other hand, wouldn’t it be nice for your future generations to see what you were like and the things that you did?  You could be an inspiration for years to come, long after you’re gone.  Rather than open up the old family photo album you could just have a link to Great Grandpas Picasso album.

If this sounds too complex, you can even purchase digital asset management software.  This makes it easy to put all your personal information in easy to use formats and secure it safely.  Just think you and your digital assets will be resting safely in a cloud somewhere.  I doubt if it’s the same one, but you could be neighbors.

Many cemeteries now offer a service where you can have a QR code put on your tombstone.   Visitors can scan the code and be redirected to a webpage that shares predetermined information you have decided to share.   Why not take this a step further and allow people to write on your wall (that would be your Facebook wall) or upload photos for other family members when they visit.  No sure that you (the deceased) will see them, but I can’t guarantee you won’t.

I personally store all my files in a program called “Dropbox”.  How fitting would that be if my Dropbox files accompanied me when I’m dropped in a box.  Many people have requested to be buried with strange things like their Ferraris and Maserati’s and sometimes personal trinkets such as a necklace or a favorite piece of clothing.  Now many are requesting to have their iPhones and iPads.  Really, don’t they realize they will need to have a way to charge them?  I guess graveyards will now have to come with WIFI as an option.

Hopefully, you haven’t found this too morbid. It’s not something we like to talk about, but eventually you will have to give it some thought.  When setting up your will, please give thought to your digital assets.   We all eventually want to rest and “tweet” in peace.

Published in: on March 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

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