Once you’re dead and gone – past the time when anyone that you know is alive – will your digital identity remain? Will your future descendants be able to look at your images and videos, read your writing, and get to know what your life was like here on Earth?
Most likely, but currently there is nothing to guarantee that. We would need an institution devoted to maintaining an individual’s digital identity, kind of like a digital cemetery. But instead of cutting the grass and tending flowers, the cemetery will tend your personal data.
There are companies that are beginning to offer services like these. But will the service outlive you? The internet seems to reinvent itself every 5 years so who knows what it will look like in 50. Cemeteries are protected by law, but data is not. Un-plug the computer and the data is gone.
We wonder if this is the next manifestation in our search for immortality or just Cemetery 2.0? For now we’re not sure, but if the idea of your digital identity outliving you appeals to you, then you need to start thinking about your online life a little differently because everything that you put online may be here for years, or centuries, after your death. Or it may be gone tomorrow.
For now, you need to make sure that there is someone to look after your data after you die. Prepare. Maybe even subscribe to a service. Either way, start thinking about it, because your digital identity will outlive you, one way or another.