Choose wisely, people.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that when I die, whether it’s sooner or later, the digital footprint that I leave behind will probably be bigger than any paper trail my family members could dredge up. Sure, there are the photos my parents have collected over the years, and that one shoebox in my closet filled with notes from high school which are all folded into that weird, semi-elaborate square, and like four diaries, most of which say, effectively, that boys drool. My online presence, though, paints a clearer picture of the person I’ve become – it’s an accumulation of all the interactions I’ve had with people that I love and people that I hate, it’s a twisted journey through a bunch of questionable nights (the pictures from which I should probably delete from every earthly mode of digital storage), and most importantly, it’s a digest of things I’ve felt worth sharing with the world at large over the past few years. At least for me —as horrible a confession as this may seem— point blank: the internet is a huge part of who I am. Deep, I know.
And it seems I’m not the only one who thinks that, given some new laws that are being drawn up in a few mid-western states. Basically, the new policies are trying to give family members automatic access to their deceased relative’s social media accounts (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.), claiming them as “digital assets”. That way, family members can browse their loved one’s page and view pictures without having to jump through any hoops. And believe me, right now, there are hoops.
Take for example, an Oklahoma mother who lost her 22-year-old son in a motorcycle accident. The grieving woman wanted to gain access to her son’s Facebook account in order to “learn more about the young man she had lost”. She contacted Facebook, asking them to maintain his account so she could visit it (she had his password). Facebook, those jerks, responded by blocking her access to her son’s page, and the woman had to sue the social media site in order to restore her ability to view it. The new laws are in effort to avoid messy, weird stuff like this.
It’s not clear whether or not family members will be given access purely by default or if you will actually be able to name the recipients of your “digital assets” in a will. Either way, it totally puts into perspective the fact that what you do on the internet could really, deeply affect your loved ones, even posthumously.
It also makes me ask myself: should a freak accident occur in the next 5 days, would it be wise of me to overhaul all my social media accounts now or just apologize to my poor mother in advance? (via Jezebel)
If you made an online will now, who would get your Facebook when you die? Would you be willing to let your parents or family have access to your online accounts?