The Human Aspects of Digital Presence After Death

This week I came across this article by Brandon Ambrosino that provides a look at the human aspects of how we will interact with the digital data left by loved ones who have died.  He discusses how he visited his Aunt’s Facebook page after her passing in a way to offer some comfort by reminiscing with the memories she left behind. He provides a stat that by 2012 there were 30 million Facebook users with accounts that were dead. He goes on to ask an important question that many of us need to consider.

How is our continuing presence in digital space changing the way we die? And what does it mean for those who would mourn us after we are gone?


This question requires us to give some thought to determine how we want to be remembered. Then we need to prepare for how we want to accomplish that. He goes on to explain how Facebook provides us with digital autobiographies that can be viewed by loved ones after we pass that will provide a detailed picture of who we were. He also touches on some new services coming online that can present a virtual version of who we are in the form of digital avatars and may provided changes to how we grieve.

At some point in time, there will be more dead Facebook users than living ones. Facebook is a growing and unstoppable digital graveyard.

It’s a great article that discusses an area that few seems to get little editorial coverage and is becoming more important as we continue to provide rich histories of our lives online. Facebook and other online services aside, we are creating so much personal data in the form of photos, videos, and other important documents and we need to have a plan for protecting and passing it on.

To learn more about how you can take steps to ensure that you’re protecting your digital data and plans for passing it on be sure to read the digital legacy section of this site which continues to be updated with resources.


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