Strange that social media should remind me of a quote from Cicero.
This week, I received one of those, ‘your friend XX has a birthday on 30 January’ reminders. ‘Write a message on their Facebook wall!’ There, in living colour, was the ever-smiling face of a friend, loved and lost, far too soon.
I will always remember my friend and that huge smile and heart; but the email made me think of something else. I don’t have a will. To be honest, I don’t have any material possessions of value. I have lived a life rich in memories, not things.
Something I have prepared is a digital will. I want the executor of this will to have access to all of my social media accounts, so they can be shut down. I made this decision after seeing how difficult it can be to navigate a person’s digital footprint, and get platforms to close accounts. Facebook, for example, demands copies of birth and death certificates, and will not provide login information, which would make deactivating an account easier and less traumatic for grieving relatives.
It may not seem like a big deal, but I don’t want my Facebook page to be ‘memorialised’. I don’t want my Twitter account to sit idle, collecting spam followers, let alone the apps with access, and my email addresses, to suck the marrow out of my online self. If I’m no longer here ‘IRL’, I don’t want to be an empty status update, or let 140 characters represent all that I have been.