The Sweet Pursuit

Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive

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How to Preserve Your Virtual Soul

8/5/2011 4:28:44 PM

Tags: death, social media, email, Internet, letters, mind and body, Colorado Springs Independent, Margret Aldrich


As more of our lives appear online, it’s only natural that our deaths will soon unfold there, too. Utne Reader wrote about the online afterlife in the March-April issue, and in “Digital Death” Chris Faraone covers the topic for the Colorado Springs Independent. “I don’t care about my body,” he writes. “It’s my virtual soul that I wish to preserve.”

As Faraone notes, the so-called digital death industry is booming with tribute sites, data banks, will-writing pages, and more. In case he should depart the analog world unexpectedly, Faraone decides get his online personal affairs in order with the help of Entrustet, a digital estate planning site whose tagline is: “Decide how you’ll be remembered. Pass on the keys to your digital legacy.” Faraone writes:

The first thing [they advised] me to do is “cloud count,” or take an inventory of every site and service I belong to. Aside from the basics—Twitter, YouTube, Gmail, Tumblr, Facebook, and an interminable MySpace—there are several other accounts that I want closed, or at least maintained, after I pass. There’s the eBay profile that I use to sell old comics for beer money, and the Adult Friend Finder account from my truly degenerate days. I also have a few WordPress blogs, SpringPad for my field notes, and online Bank of America access. After I die, my relatives can contact these companies directly, and follow procedures to get into my accounts.

Most appealing to me is the service If I Die, which allows you to write notes that will be delivered only if you kick the bucket. The website suggests several different kinds of messages:

A letter to a friend - to say something personal.

Simple instructions - whether or not to read your journal, what to do with your cat, where your documents are kept.

Passwords - how to log into your computer, how to access your address book.

An informal will - so your next of kin knows what to do with your stuff.

Sending heartfelt messages to grieving friends and family members after you’re gone—what a sublimely staggering concept. Then again, why wait? Compose your letters on If I Die, but deliver them while you’re still of this world and share the love. I always meant to tell Dr. Wilk what an impactful professor he was and Galactic Pizza how much joy they’ve brought to my life. . . .

Source: Colorado Springs Independent 

Image by theaucitron, licensed under Creative Commons.


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steve eatenson
8/11/2011 8:03:44 AM
Next, they're going to figure out a way to help me buy goods and services from the grave, for my benefit, of course. Just wait, you'll see.

8/8/2011 7:12:04 PM
A friend of mine passed away in March 2011 and he was a young man Loved by Many. The loss was so abrupt and stunning that there are still days that I go back to his live page on a networking site for the purpose of communicating with him. In years past that would not be possible, I must say that I am glad to have this opportunity at least temporarily. When we begin to leave our wishes that may not be a possibility however it may at somepoint become necessary. Good piece.

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