Social Media

What Happens To Your Social Network Profiles When You Die?

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Image: Michael Coghlan

What will happen to your social media accounts when you die? Unlike previous generations, present and future generations have invested a significant amount of time and money into their online identity. Your profiles for these social networks are hugely important in the role of society.

Our lives are inherently digital; we have been profiled and accounted for and now it is not uncommon for some of our most prized sentimental possessions, such as photos, to only be available in the online landscape.

Your online social presence also has a far greater influence than ever before. How you represent yourself and your behaviour online can have both good and bad consequences that impact on your real life.

Alive and tweeting
On one end of the scale we have the student from Hong Kong who was tracked down when he modified apple’s logo to depict an image of the late Steve Jobs. The image became an iconic symbol in the online community and even breached into mainstream media, being use on the front pages of many national newspapers.

At the other end of the scale we have people who have lost their jobs because of comments that they have left on social networking sites such as Twitter, and even one man who arrested for posting a tweet that was deemed to be a potentially dangerous to the general public regarding a tongue in cheek comment about blowing up an airport after suffering delays.

So, what would happen if, heaven forbid, you died mid tweet? It’s quite a morbid subject and I am not really referring to the current generation growing up and dying from natural causes. Sadly, some people die before their time, and at the moment it is those people who are most likely to leave a host of social sites in limbo.

Virtual Memorialisation
Facebook have enabled a feature that allows family members to contact them and transfer their page into a memorial page for people to leave messages. Facebook has become an odd instrument in the process of grieving, so has social media in general. For Twitter, trending has become a mark of respect.

Facebook walls have become books of condolences, which can become as great a help to the grieving family as to the people leaving comments.

There have been numerous stories of people trying to access the social media accounts of family members after they have passed away,

Of course, there is always the option of leaving a social media will, a template of which is provided, so that like your estate, when you pass, your family has the rights to your accounts.

People you Leave Behind
What about everyone else online? If your Twitter profile, blog and Facebook are left alone, and inaccessible to others, how will people know you are no longer around? Will people still add you on Twitter? I’m sure you will still receive spam email long after you are gone. Over the decades, will these ghost profiles start to affect ecommerce conversion? Companies will be paying to make impressions and display adverts on pages that have no-one there to view them. This is not a problem presently, but could it become an issue in the future?

James Duval once went to a party dressed as a hard-drive. I think that says everything about him that you need to know. He writes blogs for Strategy Internet Marketing in his unique perspective on the technicalities of life.

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