The world we live in and how we conduct our lives both socially and financially is pretty much wrapped up in little machines that we turn on everyday to read and scan data.
20 years ago this wasn’t the case… sure, there were computers, but they served a purpose. They printed invoices and kept a list of our business contacts. They even sorted data and kept track of sales. Now, they are our lifeline – or at least something that has become an important part of our daily lives.
Sociologists such as Anthony Giddens, and Alain Touraine describe the social activities we engage in on Facebook and other social network sites as “an important part of a necessary strategy to feel safe and sustained and understood in our daily lives.” They go on to describe that we, as humans strive to maintain stable self-identities.
Social sites help us to do this. Giddens’ wrote an entire book on the subject, titled: ‘Modernity and Self-Identity‘ which solidifies the belief that the human minds wants to create order and have control over our environment.
Social networking sites help us establish the perfect outlet to build our self-identities, and strengthen our social roles of communication, being heard, accepted and to be part of the flow of culture we all so deeply require. It helps us be understood and be part of something that in the ‘physical world’ wouldn’t be so easily attained. We have much more control over our environment through social networking sites.
On another scale, social networking helps to keep us informed. Most people who don’t read the paper check out the news on sites such as Google or Yahoo. Others get information about topics that they are interested, via social network sites. After all, the friends and followers on your sites are there because you chose them, and offer interesting information along the lines of your work or personal interests. Many post blogs or articles that are informative and useful.
Starting a business online could be enhanced and eventually flourish through social networking sites. Posting or starting an interest-focused group could inadvertently give you free advertising. For those starting out with a very low marketing budget the social network sites are a free advertising haven.
But what about social networking for the people who have died? How do these sites handle death, and how many profiles of people who aren’t even among the living any longer? Too many, that is for sure.
Would people in your life have access to your sites and how would you want them handled should something happen to you? Do you have a plan?
Social networking sites can be quite agonizing to those who have lost loved ones, as long as profiles remain. Seeing people post on a deceased profile, or worse, a scammer take it over and begin placing spam on it can be eerie to say the least.
Setting up a digital will, via Entrustet or Legacy Locker can ensure that should something happen to you, your profile is either deleted or memorialized and not living out in cyberspace.
Facebook does give the family the opportunity to memorialize your profile so that only friends can post condolences, and no further activity takes place. They also offer an “If I Die” application that can be completed and saved so that upon your death, friends and/or family will know what you’d like to have done with your posts, photos and profile.
Twitter will allow a proven family member the opportunity to delete the profile and tweets. And if that family member has the password and username, it makes it that much easier for them to remove an account.
Creating a roadmap for your family to access important information, delete other information is essential to eliminating digital data that will hang out in cyberspace for eternity. It’s smart, considerate and should be part of your Living will or Trust.
Since so many of us are entrenched in others lives via our social network accounts, and we have become entrenched in theirs, it’s best to have a plan that causes the least amount of confusion or despair, and to make the transition to the other world, in all cases, uncomplicated.
What a way to go out, and to create a social legacy – giving all of your networking sites, blogs and photos a place to rest, when you’re gone.
About the Author: Kristy Ramirez is a freelance finance and technology writer for Life Insurance Finder where you can find everything from a Step by Step Guide to Protecting Yourself Online to an income protection insurance policy.