South by Southwest 2010

John and I make no bones about how we came to start a blog about the digital afterlife. We pitched the idea for a panel talking about this for the 2009 SXSW Interactive Festival. After its selection as a core conversation, we devoted ourselves to study the topic in preparation for the event. The response at SXSW 09 was overwhelmingly positive, with a heated, hour-long discussion amongst attendees. Shortly thereafter (likely by coincidence and not causality) a deluge of services came about promising to help individuals deal with digital death and afterlife. In response, we created this blog and started preparations for SXSW 2010. Now that the panel submissions are closed, I’ll share with you our proposal.

Become Immortal, Understanding the Digital Afterlife
When you leave the mortal world, your identity will ascend into the cloud. But the complications of digital preservation pose serious questions. Our panel of legal, technical and cultural experts will discuss the control, format and sustainability of the digital beyond.

Here are the questions we plan to address:

  1. Does the past have value? Should we make an effort to preserve it?
  2. Is it too old school to die and be dead?
  3. With the onset of widespread preservation, will the past lose its significance? Quantity or quality?
  4. Is the current deluge of digital afterlife services sustainable? Will they really outlive me?
  5. Public or private? What would an open-source model for digital preservation look like?
  6. How can current advancements in data portability across social networking services support this goal?
  7. What new legal structures and precedents does this require?
  8. Are digital personas an accurate reflection of an individual?
  9. Will my legacy be more significant if I leave my content distributed across multiple sites like Flickr, Facebook and Twitter?
  10. How will the wealth of preserved information change the way that future generations look back at us?

We’ll be asking for your vote in August, when the panel picker goes live.  Hopefully your support (a.k.a. vote) will help us give this topic a proper panel discussion with other digital afterlife experts.

Update: Here’s the link to the PanelPicker: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/3854

    About Evan Carroll

    Evan Carroll is an author, speaker and UX strategist who works to make digital experiences more personal, more emotional and more effective. A leader in the developing digital legacy and personal archiving arena, Evan is author and co-founder at The Digital Beyond and co-author of the book, Your Digital Afterlife: When Facebook, Flickr and Twitter Are Your Estate, What's Your Legacy?. Evan has appeared in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, NPR’s Fresh AirObit magazine, NPR’s Here and Now, Fox News, CNN and The Atlantic. A frequent speaker on both marketing and digital legacy, Evan has presented to audiences at SXSW Interactive (2010-2012, 2014), the Library of Congress, and the Internet Archive, among others. Evan holds BS and MS degrees in Information Science from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science. He can be contacted by emailing or via Twitter @evancarroll.  Evan's personal site is www.evancarroll.net.

    One Response to South by Southwest 2010

    1. John Romano August 17, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

      The panel idea is live ont he panel picker. Please vote for us.
      http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/3854

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