My Digital Estate
I have been pondering over this since Mashable posted about Entrustet, a service that legally protects your digital assets. It got me with the title: Plan What Happens to Your Online Accounts Post-Mortem with Entrustet. I don’t know why it got me thinking about Michael Jackson, but it did. I was thinking “what do I want to happen to my digital assets?
I have had several friends who have passed away who were active on social networking accounts like MySpace and Facebook, and I keep thinking “does anyone have access to their accounts?” It’s nice for people to post on their wall and leave comments about the good times, but with no one there to monitor the account, is it inappropriate? Or is it more inappropriate to have the account deleted?
I’ve been active online for 10 long years (actually my anniversary of internet obsession is approaching soon). Since then, I have had scores of e-mail addresses, screen names, and online accounts on various websites. Obviously I only maintain my most recent ones, especially since passwords have come and gone. From what I heard from a previous acquaintance, one of my websites from Angelfire is still up and running. He asked me to remove a file from it, or possibly shut it down, but since I don’t remember the password I used (I was 12, of course I won’t remember) and have no access to the e-mail address I registered it with (nor do I remember what e-mail that could have even been), the site will remain up until Angelfire takes it down. I don’t even remember the URL, but I’d love to take a trip down (embarrassing) memory lane.
My point is, my digital estate is probably pretty expansive. Even if you just take into account my current accounts, it’s enough to make a non-social media enthusiast call it quits. Who would bother keeping up my accounts?
- My MySpace page (which I have no idea why I still have it; I should close it soon)
- My Facebook account
- My personal Twitter
- LGMM Twitter
- My LinkedIn
- My Foursquare
- My numerous e-mail accounts (I keep up about 5)
- My new website (coming soon by the way)
- My online banking accounts
- The list goes on
I’m pretty sure none of my parents, if I go before they do, will want the bother of managing the accounts, so if I was to leave it to them, I’m sure they’d just go through it (depending on the circumstances of my death), and delete them. My siblings are the same. My best friend barely knows how to work her MacBook; I doubt she’d want to keep up my accounts. My boyfriend would probably be too devastated to maintain it….okay maybe not. I asked him already and he said he wants nothing to do with it. Breach of privacy or something.
Nobody would bother! I keep saying “maintain” because I think my digital footprint is like a permanent legacy. Sure, people outrank you on websites. People obviously can’t continue to fan you, and no additional people would be able to follow me on my personal Twitter because it’s private (not that there’d be any updates to follow anyways). I guess I’d like to think of my accounts as a memorial of sorts. Keeping part of me immortal. Everyone wants to leave a legacy. No one wants to be forgotten. I think that’s why I’d like mine maintained.
The fact of the matter is, I don’t trust anyone else to maintain my accounts, and the people I do trust have no interest in it. What I’ll probably end up doing is leaving my digital estate to my younger sister to delete at will, or to my children, depending on when my untimely demise will be. I know I’m only 19 but at this age, my digital life is really all I have to my name assets wise. No investments, no liquid assets, no serious bank breaking money. This is what I have. What would you do with yours?
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