A relatively new thing to worry about upon dying is what happens to your digital self. Not only do many of us have friends and family that we keep in contact with through social media, as more businesses and services migrate online it’s important to allow someone to “inherit” our passwords (if for no other reason than to erase our browsing history).
A number of interesting websites and applications have sprung up to meet this need; when triggered, they send email, post messages to your Twitter feed, or otherwise carry out your post-life instructions. Many are self-triggering, using the equivalent of a “dead man’s switch:” If you don’t periodically log in and reset them, they’ll activate after a set amount of time has elapsed. A few of the more elaborate ones require the input of one or more associates to whom you’ve provided specific passwords. Here’s a look at a few of these services:
ifidie – This Facebook app allows you to create a video or a text message that will be published after you die
DeadSoci.al – Allows you to create a series of messages that are published to your “social networks” after your death; I’m a little fuzzy on how many social networks they cover, since only Facebook and Twitter seem to be prominent on the site.
_LIVESON – Promoted as “your social afterlife,” this service uses a program which analyzes your Twitter feed and learns your likes, tastes, and syntax. It begins tweeting on an auxiliary feed and you can train it to more accurately mimic “you.” Once you die, it’ll keep tweeting in your stead.
Cirrus Legacy – Central hub that keeps track of your email accounts, online banking, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, web hosting, etc. and allows you to specify what happens to them upon your death.
AssetLock – Electronic “safe deposit box” which allows you to upload files and save passwords and instructions to be released to predetermined individuals.
LifeEnsured – Online storage for files and passwords. Provides “digital estate planning” and allows you to specify what happens to your online accounts.
Death Switch and Dead Man’s Switch – Both services send out email automatically after they stop hearing from you for a predetermined period. Both offer upgrades to add more recipients.
Ghost Memo – Also sends email to designated recipients, but takes a more active approach in that it periodically sends you email; if you don’t respond after a preset period, it triggers.
EmailFromDeath – Sends email but also offers the option of mailing a physical letter.
FutureMe – This is slightly different from the others in that it allows you to schedule an email to be sent at some future date, whether you’re dead or not. You can send an email to yourself several years from now. Some people choose to make their messages public, and reading through them is interesting.
Great Goodbye – Create an online memorial and pre-set emails which can include photos, video, and audio recordings.
Bcelebrated – Create an “autobiographical legacy website,” write password-protected private messages, and send emails.
Virtual Eternity – Service which allows you to create an interactive avatar and train it to accurately reflect your appearance, voice, personality, and “life experiences” in order to stand in for you posthumously. This one’s sort of science fictiony-y and creepy.