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What Happens to Your Online Life When You Die?
ABC 22/FOX 45 investigates what you need to do now to protect your family from digital disasters when you die.
It is a morbid thought, but have you ever considered what would come of your online life when you die?
Sentiments left on social media help Antoine Williams deal with his mother Zandra's passing.
"Thank you for doing this, thank you for being in my life... that makes me proud, I can stick my chest up at that," Williams said.
Still, each time her profile comes up in his Facebook feed, it is hard.
"I still think she's going to respond. It's been two years, but I still think she's going to respond."
Facebook is all Zandra had in terms of an online presence. Now, consider yours. At 23, Antoine's will only grow.
"I'm a huge Twitter and Instagram, Facebook not so much anymore," explained Antoine.
Considering all the social media accounts you have, what happens to them when you die? It's something social media experts say you should be thinking about now.
"If anything ever happens to me, it's not my life it affects, it's my family's as well, too. So by being proactive, and thinking about these things, not only are you able to give peace of mind but you're making things easier for your loved ones, too," said Maeghan Smulders with PasswordBox.com.
She explained that PasswordBox is, "an entire digital life manager, so the ability to manage your passwords during life and after."
You have a master password, and can enter anything you want.
"It's never sent to a cloud or server to be encrypted, it's only done on your phone, computer, or tablet, so again we have no access to that information," explained Smulders, and adds that you designate a beneficiary of that information. Your beneficiary would have to send your death certificate to PasswordBox, then your information is released to that person's account.
The service is free, unless you are storing more than 25 passwords, then it is a dollar a month.
AssetLock.net has three membership levels. You can pay as little as $10 a year or as much as $240 for a lifetime membership.
"Rather than each person having an account in a family we were finding whole families were opening one account and just having access to everything," said Collin Harris, who created AssetLock.net
His service allows people to post any and all data - from passwords to important information about summer homes. The idea came to him in 2000 after his Dad passed away. His father left a will, but few details on how to access its contents.
"To this day there could be things we don't know about, but how could we? There were no instructions left," Harris said.
When we pass, as a society, we often mark it with a grave site and some sort of marker. The name and date of birth is usually the most we learn about a person. Imagine a tombstone that you could walk up to and learn all about a person's life.
It first showed up on the site called Yanko Design, and it is essentially a digital tombstone. It would allow a visitor to see Tweets, Facebook posts, blogs - any digital mark you left on the world. It will be solar-powered, and a Bluetooth transmitter gives people access to the information.
"She didn't really post a lot of stuff, but for people that did... who had a lot of blogs and stuff that's just a good thing to remember them on," Antoine said. At just 23, all of this is a lot for Antoine to consider, but his digital life is something he wants to ensure is preserved and passed on for good someday.
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