Book Review - Your Digital Afterlife: When Facebook, Flickr and Twitter Are Your Estate, What's Your Legacy? by Evan Carroll
So what happens to your digital self when you die? Your email, blog, Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook accounts? It's not something you hear talked about very much, but there could be personal and historical value lost if those accounts die along with you. Our parents and grandparents passed down photos and letters to us, but what if all of those photos and letters are now on Flickr and in email? Evan Carroll covers this topic in his book Your Digital Afterlife: When Facebook, Flickr and Twitter Are Your Estate, What's Your Legacy?, and it's a fascinating read.
Introducing the Digital Afterlife
Your Digital Life Death, and Beyond: The Shift to Digital; A Well-Lived (Digital) Life; The Artifacts of Your Life; The Value of Digital Things; What You Leave Behind; The Opportunity of Digital Legacy; Your Legacy at Risk; The Birth of an Industry
Securing Your Digital Legacy: Before You Begin; Computers and Devices; Email; Social Websites; Finance and Commerce; Create Your Plan
Epilogue: The Future of Digital Death
Appendix; Glossary; From the Authors; Index
Carroll start off by covering the evolution from physical pieces of our story and heritage to a more digital form. Especially dramatic is the comparison of communication from people who are serving during a time of war. Letters from the front-line are saved, re-read, age, and are part of an overall memory. Now you get emails that only exist in electronic form, and are quickly read, replied to, and saved in a mailbox. The immediacy and format of the message makes it more transitory, and less likely it will be handed down to future generations. This aging and patina that forms over the years is completely missing from the digital form. And while letters and pictures can be destroyed by flood and fire, a simple hard drive crash can wipe out a significant part of our digital past.
From there, Carroll lays out a detailed plan and format to both back up your digital life and to make sure that someone has the digital keys to handle your estate after your death. It's not quite as simple as you'd think, as web sites will often automatically shut down accounts once they are presented with proof of your death. On top of that, today's cutting edge storage mediums (like DVDs or solid state hard drives) may deteriorate over time, or the hardware to read those devices may become obsolete. Zip drives, floppy disk drives, laser disk readers... even VCR players are becoming ever more difficult to find. Move forward another decade, and the problem just gets bigger.
Yes, thinking about your online self and death may not be the most enjoyable thing to think about. You may not even care or think it's important. But your family (and their families) may feel different, and would like to know what "grampa" was like when they were alive...
Obtained From: Publisher