Every once in a while you run into a really good idea on the web, a Social Media Will. Yes, a will as in what to do after you die. This all comes home to me since my 100 year old father died this past January. I am an only child do everything was my responsibility, but my father had carefully set everything up so I had to make very few decisions. Since he grew up not using computers, social media was not a big concern. His death did start my thoughts to think of what might happen if I died. I know I have work to do on this because my will is very old and doesn’t reflect my current situation. Additionally, I had never thought about what might happen to things like my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,7 email accounts, several passworded computers and many Blogs if I died. As I think of it the idea just overwhelms me.
I certainly do not want these things to be a burden to my children. Additionally, I have some concern about how someone (not authorized) might use this information. I am not a wealthy person and I do not have a well-known reputation and in many was I am rather average. Imagine he problem for famous people! Most of us aren’t famous but some may have greater media exposure than others. What is to be done?
It turns out that someone in the US Government has thought about this and has written about it in their USA.gov Blog. The article in full is How and Why You Should Write a Social Media Will. In short there are recommendations about appointing an executor for your Social Media. That executor would have access to your Death Certificate and information about your Social Media accounts, including passwords. Passwords change frequently so up to date information would be advisable. A document that is signed and notarized appointing the executor for Social Media might be advisable. That way the executor could go to media site representatives with that document and your death certificate to gain access if passwords were changed or lost. This all sounds a bit like creating a Social Media Will and I think that is the idea. The Social Media Will would additionally contain instructions about the disposition of your Media profiles and other information.
My father’s generation had few if any worries about Social Media Legacy, but my generation clearly does. As the “Baby Boomer” generation cycles through this will become a greater concern. I grew up in a time when there were few computer devices. Today they are all pervasive and there seems to be no end in sight. Social Media Wills are essential now and will continue to be a part of life planning. I suggest that you start your Social Media Will sooner than later.