If the psychologist Carl Jung was alive today, he may have said, your digital world is your shadow. In many ways it’s the best representation of your personality and your aspirations because of its interactive nature. When you misrepresent yourself, you’re bound to receive feedback pointing this out.
Twitter streams are like a public journals of your daily activities, for others it’s a place to share inspiration quotes or topics you are passionate about. With the large-scale adoption of Smartphones many pieces of information about your life are automatically added to your digital persona.
In 2011, Adam Ostrow delivered a TED Talk about how to manage your digital afterlife. He posits that our lives will live on indefinitely in the Cloud. There is an increasing number of services to manage your profiles after you die. Google is one of the leaders because of the sheer scope of their reach from email to Youtube, to the forthcoming Google Glass project.
In the final solution we determine what memories we leave behind are important, because those are the ones we’ve chosen to share. Videos and photos may leave a bigger legacy than your blog because. It is through pictures our senses leap into action, remembering the sound of a voice, how they smelled or how it felt when they gave you a hug.
In April 2013, my friend, Andre August, passed away. Just last year I helped him setup his Gmail and Facebook accounts, so he can get in touch with old friends. When I received the devastating news of his heart attack, I resolved to turn his Facebook profile into a tribute. First I posted an announcement of his death and messages flooded in. A few days later I posted the funeral information and people responded. In all the years I used social media, nothing was as gratifying as when printed messages posted on his Facebook, and gave it to his 81-year-old mother.
When we die, we leave behind people, we leave behind memories. People rarely print out photos like they used to because everyone just keeps them on digital devices. Cloud storage of these digital memories will become more valuable as people are afraid to lose them. In a world filled with smart technologies where your data is automatically synced between phone, tablet, laptop or the Cloud, you have nothing to worry about; except maybe a little bit of your privacy.
In the future there will be the equivalent of the digital undertaker whose job is to clean up your profiles and preserve it for posterity. Holograms of the late rapper Tupac “resurrected” in 2012 leads to interesting alternatives to reincarnation. It is conceivable with the sophisticated artificial intelligence emerging, that can process the billions of tweets, status updates, blog posts, accurate psycho-graphic profiles of people may be developed. Using well established techniques of psychological profiling to identifying serial killers and other groups, your digital personality may one day amuse your great-great-grandchildren like Harry Seldon in the Isaac Asimov novel, Foundation.
RECOMMENDED DIGITAL AFTERLIFE TOOLS
- IfIDie.net – post a video on your Facebook
- LivesOn.org – Keep tweeting after you die
- Google Inactive Account Manager