A cultural side effect of "what happens on Facebook and Twitter when you die"

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British Magazine Pc Pro has an interesting article about something which, they report, happens one and a half million times a year:

Can Twitter and Facebook deal with their dead?.

The article discusses both the human and the administrative side of one of the several things I had already looked at month ago when I asked: “If you died now, who would look after your digital YOU?”

What should happen to your account? Should it be closed? Should it be passed over to your next of kin, deleted or put into some frozen “departed” status? Who can ask for it and how? The two articles above explore the issue in detail. Here I only want to point out a side effect that serious discussions of this topic, as well as personal reflections about it, should include.

One of the side effects of thinking to all this may very well be a deep rethinking of one of the biggest dogmas of social networking and Web 2.0 in general: “not only privacy doesn’t exist anymore, but there should be no more distinction between public and private sphere”. Will you still sure, after reading the PC Pro article?

I am thinking to all the people who continuously mix advertising of their business, holiday pictures, markets analyses and party reports all in one flow in the same Twitter stream or Facebook page. What if, of course in some very, very remote future, your business partners end up fighting with your relatives because one side wants to keep everything online and the other doesn’t? Is it necessary that they have to have such a discussion at all? Do you want it to happen?

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