Have you ever thought about whatever happens to a personal e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or other online accounts?
Hmmm, I did too not give it much thought about it – until the other day when trying to change all my passwords (I do it every 60 days); it occurred to me.
Thinking, my blog legacy must go on! <smiling!> So I did some research and found out some information about this digital world we live in!
Did you know that “digital wills” and “digital estates” are emerging as hot topics as we become more vested in the online world. Digital will?
Well actually it’s not necessary to draw up a separate digital will. Simply adding your digital assets (with user names and passwords) to a standard will should be enough. All your digital information is an asset! Either way, going without a plan for these assets is a bad idea. Especially if you have a blog and it’s brings in income, you are journalist with your own blog – or – you just want to protect the information, etc!
Below are examples of what some of the more popular e-mail and social networking sites do with your accounts:
Google (includes YouTube, Google+, Blogger and other Google properties): Through the account settings, users can set a timeout period of three to 12 months for their account and instruct Google to notify and/or share data with friends and family or delete all information if the account becomes inactive. Google will try to contact the user via a secondary e-mail address and/or text message before shutting the account. If no answer is received, Google will follow through with the customer’s wishes.
Hotmail: Microsoft has a “next of kin” process which allows for the release of Hotmail’s content, including e-mails, attachments, address book and Messenger contacts. The account contents are sent via a data DVD. They won’t provide access to the account or transfer it to another name.
Facebook: Relatives can request that Facebook memorialize the deceased person’s page. Only those “friended” by the person while he or she was alive may leave memorial posts on the page. The account is otherwise locked down. You can also shut down the page altogether by providing Facebook with a death certificate. For Facebook’s Instagram service, a next of kin would need to send an email request to the company to get the ball rolling.
LinkedIn: Next of kin can either close the account or memorialize it.
Twitter: Accounts that have been inactive for two years are shut down. Next of kin can contact Twitter to deactivate the account sooner. It will not provide log-in information.
Yahoo!: This includes photo-sharing site Flickr. Once a death certificate is provided to the company, the deceased’s account will be completely shut down and all content will be permanently deleted.
iTunes and Kindle e-books: The content in your Apple iTunes library and the e-books in your Amazon Kindle account are nontransferable since you pay for a license to use the content. In addition to providing loved ones with your login details, you can try converting some of the content to Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free formats while you’re still alive.
Website URLs and personal blogs: URLs that are registered to you are true assets and are transferable, as is your blog.
You can also set up an Administrator, other than yourself for some of your accounts – just in case you are unable to access them. Also, check the account Manager sections, to see if there are any specific settings you can include. Google has just recently added a feature!
It is always good to take a moment to think about a “what if?”. I hope this information is helpful!