The Digital Beyond: What Happens to Your Digital Life After You Die?

Have you ever thought about what happens to your digital life after you die? That’s not a question most of us have considered.

In the past, our photos, mail, and other possessions went to family or friends to sort through. But what happens to your online life when you die? Your email accounts, online photos, social network accounts, [insert online account here]…what happens to your digital data and information? How will your friends and family access all of your digital data? How will they access your accounts and passwords? How will they know where you have accounts in the first place? Do you keep a list somewhere?

Two people have considered our digital afterlifeJohn Romano and Evan Carroll.

Since 2008, John Romano and Evan Carroll have researched and wrote about the budding digital afterlife community. They first presented their research to a crowded room at the South By Southwest conference (SXSW) in 2009, and were immediately mentioned on NPR’s “All Tech Considered”.

John and Evan then created The Digital Beyond—thedigitalbeyond.com—as a think tank for digital death and legacy issues. The site has grown into the go-to source for digital afterlife information. The New York Times, Obit magazine, Orlando Sentinel, and The Austin Chronicle have mentioned The Digital Beyond and have consulted John and Evan on related stories. In November 2009, they appeared on CNN in a featured video story, “Planning Your Digital Afterlife.” They returned to SXSW in 2010 to host another session called “Become Immortal: Understanding the Digital Afterlife.”

In the video below, John and Evan ask, “What Will Happen to Your Digital Possessions After You Die?“. First, they lay out why considering this question is important, and then they provide some ideas on what you should do to pass on or delete your digital life after you pass on.

If you are interested in this topic, you may check out their book, Your Digital Afterlife.

The video reminds me that I need to create a plan for others to deal with my digital afterlife when I pass away!

What are your thoughts on this subject?

[Via Jane G.]

Jewel Ward
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Jewel Ward

Founder and Consultant at Impact Zone Consultancy
Nice to meet you! I am Jewel Ward, founder of Impact Zone (www.impactzone.co). Our specialties are search engine optimization and digital stewardship for creative industry websites.

We work hard to serve our clients’ needs so they can solve their technology problems. Our goal is to enable our creative clients to succeed digitally in whatever form success means to them.

Here are three fun facts about me. I consider coffee and chocolate food groups. I am an INFJ. I love longboard surfing.
Jewel Ward
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