Eternal Electronic Life- or will it end?

elderly people on computers

Eternal Electronic Life – or will it end?

This is one thing we did not think about before the last several years! Our social media platforms don’t automatically shut down when we do. Our electronic banking apps remain until we tell them to quit. Folks who do not go online don’t have to worry - if that is you, feel free to skip to the next newsletter item or go sniff a flower with joy.

Just for grins, the top 7 social media sites this year are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit. And the phrase I found for eternal electronic life is “digital remains.” Okay…

So why I am writing this? You may recall I spend some time looking out for scams and identity theft and the like. Well, what a surprise, there are scammers following the obituaries and social media platforms looking for deaths and therefore unattended personal information. They can steal identities, make pleas for money from your friends and followers, use your photos in ads, and in general make mayhem. Something like half of all instances of stolen information were from social media accounts in 2018.

A few of the platforms have a mechanism to allow survivors to manage, close, or delete an account. Some will allow a memorialization, which might be nice to keep for a few months to make sure followers know of the death. In some cases, you can set this up yourself. When you next revise your will, it is a good idea to include these platforms as assets along with instructions. If you follow a social media platform, you should probably search for their policies and figure out what you want.

Yes, life is more complicated,

Jean O’Neil, TRIAD committee member

413-268-2228, jeanoneilmass@gmail.com