You may die but don’t expect your digital assets to go with you. Thanks to Legacy Locker, those instant tweets have been granted immortality.
The concept is simple and suddenly obvious. They protect everything you create on the internet for your trust or estate (just as you do with your car, house or retirement account).
It’s also a little frightening. Wasn’t the unspoken premise of instantaneous communication that you could shoot from the hip and speak freely? Should we now censor ourselves, or at least consider who else might see it after you’re gone? Enough people have been fired or exposed for having an affair by online postings for us to know that digital assets, left unmanaged, can cause a lot of trouble.
For instance, what happens when beneficiaries start fighting over your digital assets? And who’s to say what they will do with them? Salacious exposes are just as profitable when stuffed with digital goodies.
If you do take action, where do you draw the line? While that film you made is clearly valuable, is your warning you gave against mixing hot sake and chocolate pop rocks any less “ownable”? If not to you, than to squabbling relatives?
How do we filter who can see what? As parents we lock the door to our bedrooms (you know when) and put blocks on ours kid’s computers. Do we need to filter our digital lives in the same way for fear of their life after your death?
The warning signs are here. Sites like MyDeathSpace.com provide obituaries for MySpace users. Even after your death and despite profile protection by MySpace, people can discover the details of your untimely passing. Finally, online shrines and memorials live on well beyond the death and grieving process. Can the days of legacy hacking be far away?
It’s hardly surprising that as our attention, creative contributions and real life relationships migrate online, ownership issues quickly followed. It requires that we filter what we want keep for posterity and what we want to fade away.
The salient advice seems to be the same as ever: “Sharer Beware”. What we say in the spur of the moment may just live on forever.