This article by the BBC has got me thinking.
A Box of electronic photos - the article centres on the new technological idea of putting a persons life in a "electronic memory box". In some ways I can see it is a fab idea to have a lifetime of photos in a timeline in a special box, but it seems unnecessary really. I can't actually imagine anyone but a genealogist being tempted to invest in this. At the moment people either prefer hard copy albums or online albums of photos; surely this box idea falls in-between failing both sorts of people.
Online clear out - the article also refers to the need for an online clear out. why would it be necessary to have an online clear out? After all it's what is left and provides a picture of a life. I am happy with my online information being open to people now, why would that change. Of course I am careful with what I share online, others might not be. So yes, some might want a clear out - but surely this would be a good idea every year if you're not so careful with your online presence!
Online life after death - So... Who decides what will remain of a person online? the one who shared it online or their family members? I worry that it will be all in the ownership of the next of kin. Might they choose to present a departed's life in a different light? I wouldn't want someone else deciding what of me would remain online; surely it's all or nothing. Memories are for our own specific recollections of the departed.
Eternal online life - the question is, will we now live forever in our online personas? And if so, Is this a good thing? Certainly it will be interesting for future generations, but are our online lives really showing our real lives. I am guardedly open online; I don't put up any details of family fall outs or arguments and that might make my life look completely perfect - it's not! But I have written a lot on my blogs which I would hope wouldn't be destroyed on my death; I'm not writing it for any historic purpose, but it would be a shame for it to die with me.
Bereavement aspects - I finally wonder how the online presence of a departed loved one might affect the grieving of those left behind. It could be a pleasant place to visit the one you're missing; but this has the risk of placing your relationship with them into the online space which could affect your ability to grieve. It could be that the online presence throws up sides of the person you didn't know or chose to forget; this could adversely change your memory of the loved one and make grief more complex. It could be a place for you to express your grief, much as a box if photos would be. Bereavement is a complex issue, the process of grieving important; an online presence might complicate it. But it might also be comforting to know that someones life and musings and thoughts will remain, to be read or viewed, after their departure.
We remain in memories of our loved ones when we die; and now we remain alive for others to share our shared moments online. Online life after death is a minefield, but I'm glad I'll have it.