Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide advice only. Every legal matter is unique and you should consult with a legal professional in your area.
Unfortunately a few months ago, I lost a friend to leukemia who was in her twenties. She was an active participant on social media networks and during a discussion with friends someone asked “What do are they going to do with her Facebook account?” It is a great question that many of us in this digital age are going to be faced with. In fact, creating a “social media will” is now one of the government’s official personal finance recommendations, listed on USA.gov.
So ask yourself, what should happen to the content you have posted? Consider creating a statement of how you would like your online identity handled by appointing someone you trust as an online executor. The executor will be responsible for the maintenance and or closure of your email addresses, social media profiles and blogs after you are deceased.
Consider these steps to assist you with write a social media will.
- Write down a list of all the websites where you have a profile, along with usernames and passwords.
- State how you would like your profiles to be handled. You may want to completely cancel or leave it up for friends and family to visit. Some sites allow users to create a memorial profile where others can view your profile but cannot post anything new.
- Identify and meet with your intended executor. Explain to them their role and share the list with them. (Google Drive may be a good resource as you can retain ownership of the document and share it with them. This way if your passwords are changed it can be easily updated.)
While my friend did not have a social media will her family chose to leave her profile up so that we could post photos and memories, and while I knew she was an awesome person now I can connect with the hundreds of people whose lives she touched and make new acquaintances.
Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency specializing in the creation of social /digital media strategies, online communications, training and web content production based in Washington, DC. Socially Ahead focuses on helping brands and individuals navigate social media and online space to build better connections.