Friday, October 28, 2011

The Best 5:30 of Your Day: After Your Final Status Update

Adam Ostrow, editor in chief of Mashable, gives us a great topic to consider as we celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). What happens to your online "life" after you are gone? Now this is certainly not the most enjoyable topic, but it is a very important one. Facebook claims more than 800 million active users. The latest statistics I could find via the World Fact Book estimate that 55.3 million people die annually. That is two people every second. Given that we are about to hit the seven billion population mark, many of the newly deceased are not social media users. However, a large number are active on social media, thus the number of deceased users grow exponentially. 

This gives us a lot to ponder. What is the role of online media? Does Facebook, Twitter, Blogs all exist just for the living? Could they become memorials to the deceased? A modern way for the departed to remain in our collective consciousness and be remembered? Those of us active in following social media and technology trends are quick to point out that all information you share on the Internet should be considered permanent and public. Does this apply after death? 

Watch Mr. Ostrow's video below and start to ask yourself if you have or will use social media to remember people lost in your circles. How will this impact the amount of information archived? How should online groups such as Facebook handle archiving? What opportunities are out there for creating a more robust remembrance in "the cloud" for those that want it?  

Now I wonder how many presenters on the TED site are no longer with us in body? 

Adam Ostrow: After your final status update


  1. Somewhere I read that we need to be careful what we say on-line because it exists forever (though maybe in some server in the back corner of some dusty room).

    Not sure if others have this problem, but this posting was difficult to read, each line overlapped the one before it, so only half the letters showed up.

  2. First, thank you for the comments David. Blogger seemed to be experiencing some problems yesterday. It appears to me that it has been resolved. I will keep monitoring it.

    I believe it is important to assume that everything you say online is accessible and public. It is just good form to look at it that way and makes for a better more well reasoned commentary. It is also, as you say, probably true!