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What Happens to Your Online Life When You Die?

The End is Coming


I’m sure that the Australia didn’t have me in mind when they created the animation “Digital Death — What Happens Online When You Die.” I have no intention of dying, but in an academic sense, I found the cartoon informative and funny. (Actuaries always crack me up.)

Are you worried about any dirty laundry you stashed on the Internet? You should be. When you die–emphasis on “you”– if you have a lot of your personal information in a cloud, it becomes the property of whoever runs the cloud. They can do anything they want with it, including recreating a virtual you, maybe with you wearing your dirty laundry on the outside.

If you are the average Twitter user at 23 minutes a day on the service, by the time you can twit no more, you will have left 15,795 pieces of wisdom for future generations. Twitter will be happy to pass them on to the next of kin. Facebook will have 415 of your messages for each year of your life, including thousands of photos.

In fact, you will have left so much of yourself on the Internet, that once you’ve left this mortal coil, you won’t have left it entirely. There will be generous hunks of your words and thoughts, not to mention photos and videos of you, left behind for everyone, including those great-great-great-grandchildren, to get to know you. Find out what will not be interred with your bones but, for good or ill, will live after you.

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7 Responses to What Happens to Your Online Life When You Die?

  1. Maggie March 1, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Wow. Thanks, Ron, for posting this. It is good info and definitely food for thought – if for no other reason than the idea that we could be re-created as a hologram a hundred years from now based upon our social media input. What a mind-expanding idea…and a bit sobering.

  2. Mark Miller March 1, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Far more horrifying (to me) is what happens to my on-line life while I’m still ALIVE! After some due diligence, I made the decision a couple years ago to just say NO to Facehole.

  3. James Smith January 17, 2013 at 3:11 am #

    Thanks for providing even more reasons for never being on Facebook or Twitter. I will never be on either one. They are there to collect your personal information and sell it to anyone that asks for it. Google is the same only far worse. “When the ‘service’ is free, the product is you.”

    • Steve Krause January 17, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      You know what James… That’s a great line. I’m going to steal that if you don’t mind.

      When the ‘service’ is free, the product is you.”

      • James Smith January 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

        Feel free, Steve. It isn’t my line. I read it somewhere else, but I forget where or exactly when.

    • ferricoxide February 8, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

      Yet, you’ve established a profile with which to comment on various sites’ forums…

      • James Smith February 9, 2013 at 2:09 am #

        But I do not put every detail of my life on line for Google to sell. I put nothing on line for anyone to use that I do not wish to share with the world.

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