Not to bum you out, but you’re going to die. Death is an unfortunate and (regrettably) untreatable side effect of living. It’s coming, and there are steps you should be taking to make sure your loved ones can handle their post-you existence with minimal friction.
After all, you want them to be properly mourning you instead of, say, trying to figure out all the passwords to your social media accounts. That’s right, we’re talking death and social media.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their ilk allow us to preserve our experiences in perfectly curated (or not) snapshots. But when we die, we leave behind a museum with separate wings full of conversations, articles, photos, videos and more. It’s important that we also leave behind keys to these wings and entrust them to the right people.
The first step is to write up a Social Media Will to instruct your loved ones on how to handle your accounts once you pass away. Include all the channels where you maintain a presence, complete with passwords, and whether you want to keep the accounts active or not. If your Tweets are on fire, for instance, keep it up for future lolz.
Append your Social Media Will to your living will — which, if you’re older than 18, you should go ahead and draft up. This document gives your loved ones an easier path to directly dealing with your accounts instead of forcing them to jump through hoops for each and every platform where you were building your personal brand.
It’s also worth noting that the majority of social networks technically won’t let someone else log on as you. They can do it, but it also leaves your account open to being frozen by the platform. But a will with login info makes it far easier to handle certain platforms, especially Twitter and Instagram.
Beyond your will, there are specific steps you can take on Facebook to make things even easier for those honoring your dying wishes. Your account can be memorialized when you die, turning your page into a limited version of itself that will still provide friends and family a place to share memories. (Your pictures and posts will also stay up and accessible to your audiences.) Place your memorialized page in the hands of a “legacy contact” who can write a pinned post and share your famous last words — something else to consider putting in your will — as well as update your profile picture and cover photo.
Not that your memorialized profile won’t show up in “People You May Know” or as a birthday reminder, because that would be super awkward and possibly upsetting for some people. (If your afterlife goal is to haunt people, though, then a Memorialized Page is maybe not the way to go.)
You can also outright delete your page. Nobody will be able to post on your wall ever again, but nobody will be able to see those unfortunate spring break pictures either. Things to consider. Either way, establishing a legacy contact is a vital (sorry!) step in the process. Maybe just make sure you pick someone who wants to actually handle this job and presumably won’t be doing any skydiving in the near future.
Deactivating an account on Twitter is relatively straightforward. Their staff will work with a person authorized to act on behalf of the estate or with a verified immediate family member. Are you starting to see how a Social Media Will makes all of this easier?
Like Facebook, Instagram allows your account to be memorialized, but there won’t be a legacy contact, and your account is essentially frozen for the sake of posterity. You can also have your account deleted after you die. RIP to all those pictures of food.
If you want to take the extra step from the great beyond, DeadSocial is a social platform that allows you to leave behind scheduled messages for the future. It’s creepy, but then, social media isn’t not creepy and at least you won’t have to obsess over likes or go “Oh my god, I hate it, take it again!” Because you’ll be dead. Bummer.