“You are what you share.”
—Charles W. Leadbeater, “We Think: The Power Of Mass Creativity”
WHAT do you do when your girlfriend keeps messaging you on Facebook even though she’s been dead for the more than a year?
“My girlfriend died on the seventh of August, 2012. She was involved in a three car collision driving home from work when someone ran a red light. She passed away within minutes on the scene…. She was vibrant; the kind of girl that would choose dare every time. She was happiest when camping, but a total technophile, too. She always smelled like cinnamon.
“…Em had been dead for approaching 13 months when she first messaged me…I’ve got the screenshots. I don’t know what to do.”
Now before you send me condolence messages, just know that these are just excerpts from a reddit post submitted user natesw. My Facebook ghost story isn’t as scary, but I know a lot of you with an account on the platform probably experienced this, as well, but the timing is just creepy AF. It was nearly midnight and I was in the middle of writing an article when I decided to take a break and check out my Facebook feed. I was hoping to see a funny cat video or some scandalous new photo from my favorite digital chizmosa.
Instead, the first story I saw was one of those “Friendversary videos.” You know, the ones that remind you that you’ve been friends for “X” number of years and it’s time to celebrate?
The problem was that it was with a friend who has been dead for several years, and since I was the one who made his tribute video, seeing the same photos chosen by Facebook gave me goosebumps.
Told you it wasn’t as scary—until he liked the post.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DIE?
It’s probably a question that has exercised humanity’s finest minds since the beginning of, well, human minds, and the topic of endless discussions and arguments as the stories of those who were able to “come back” are often different.
There are those who felt nothing at all; while there are others who describe being drawn by a bright light, or some interaction with another (often dead) person or being. And there are some who say they could watch what was happening while they were “dead” without being able to do anything.
I’m no doctor or psychic, nor am I too keen about having any sort of near-death experience so I could tell you what its like. But what I do know is that, if you die and you haven’t made any preparations, your social-media accounts will be in virtual limbo—spooking the hell out of your Facebook friends or followers; and no one wants to be dead and unfriended. Making death preparations may seem like the strangest things to do, especially if you are young and healthy, but just like getting insurance or one of those Saint Peter Death Care plans, it’s becoming more of a necessity since the last thing you’d want is to leave your loved ones bereaved and panicking. If you can put a lot of effort into planning a big birthday party, why not put the same attention into what you’d like to happen when you die?
I’d leave you to deal with whatever preparations you want, but I’d like to share with you a few things on how you can preserve your digital legacy (or secrets).
DEATH AND SOCIAL MEDIA
JUST before Halloween, I read this article about a 14-year-old Russian model, Vlada Dzyuba, who died during a fashion show in China. She was found to be suffering from chronic meningitis “compounded by severe exhaustion” and remained in a coma for two days before she died.
I was curious, so just like every other dude who probably read the story, I typed her name on Facebook and saw a different profile (no, I didn’t even think of adding her). Unlike ordinary Facebook accounts, however, Vlada’s profile had already been memorialized and her cover photo read: “Remembering Vlada Dzyuba: We hope that people who love Vlada will find comfort in visiting her profile to remember and celebrate her life.”
So how do you take care and protect your digital legacy? For Facebook, you can add a “legacy contact”—someone you can trust to look after your account if it’s memorialized. To add a legacy contact, go to your account’s general setting, select “settings” and click “manage account.” Type in a friend’s name and click “add.” To let your friend know they’re a legacy contact, click “send.” Families can close or “memorialize” accounts so certain features, like birthday reminders, no longer appear. Family members can also ask Facebook for access to some of the account’s content (but not private chats).
Depending on the privacy settings of the account, friends can share memories on the memorialized timeline and the content the person shared stays on Facebook and is visible to the audience it was shared with. And, perhaps, most important, memorialized profiles don’t appear in public spaces, such as in suggestions for People You May Know, ads or birthday reminders.
If you see an Instagram account that you know belongs to someone who’s passed away, you can report it to Instagram for memorialization. Go to Instagram’s Help Center and you must show proof of death via an obituary or news article (or death certificate). However, only immediate family members can request the account to be removed. Once an account is memorialized, no one can log into the account. Memorialized accounts can’t be changed in any way. This includes changes to likes, followers, tags, posts and . While the photos and videos of the deceased person stay visible to the audience they were shared with, memorialized accounts don’t appear in public spaces, like the “Explore” section.
Finally, family members can request a Twitter account of the deceased to be removed via a Privacy Form. Otherwise, the only other option is to leave the account as it is, as Twitter automatically deletes a user if the account is inactive for six months.
So there you have it. If writing your last will and testament still seems too early and absurd, at least you know that it only takes a few steps to make sure that your social-media accounts won’t get lost in limbo, and that your digital legacy will be properly preserved.
5 APPS YOU NEED FOR THE HOLIDAYS
ON a more pleasant note, it’s been years since I was able to enjoy a week off from work (no events, no deadlines, no negative people) and let me tell you that just staying inside my room for a Stranger Things marathon was the most fun and relaxing time I’ve had in a while. All I needed was my smartphone and a few apps.
Here are five apps you could use to make the most out of your next long weekend.
- SPOTIFY. Listen to your favorite songs or make a soundtrack for your upcoming vacation, and thanks to Spotify, you don’t need to download or compile hundreds of your mp3s. Since it launched in October 2008, this music and podcast-streaming app has been rocking the world of music lovers of all ages. Spotify provides access to more than 30 million songs. As of June 2017, it had more than 140 million monthly active users and more than 60 million paying subscribers as of July 2017.
- NETFLIX. More into binge-watching? Then you just got to have Netflix! Boasting a massive library of video content at an affordable price, the streaming service has dramatically changed today’s viewing habits much like what Spotify did to music. Founded in 1997, Netflix started online streaming after 10 years when their titles were only limited to 1,000. Its success exploded in the first quarter of 2017 with 98.75 million subscribers, and breached the 100-million subscriber mark shortly after its first-quarter report in April. Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries and is responsible for at least 35 percent of downstream Internet traffic in North America in 2016, double the traffic of Google’s YouTube and more than eight times as much as Amazon Video over the same period.
- EATIGO. Because food is life, and nothing is more annoying than throwing around the question Saan tayo kakain? I recently discovered this app when I was planning a surprise treat for my parents. Eatigo is a reservation app that aims to connect empty tables with empty stomachs, and offers as much as 50-percent discounts on every restaurant, every day—from your favorite hole-in-the-wall to the popular fine-dining places. All you have to do is choose the date, time, the number of people, the type of cuisine and the location where you want to eat and it will give you a list of possible choices. Through the Eatigo mobile app, diners can browse for restaurants via the curated categories: top 50 restaurants, new restaurants or use “Here & Now” to see nearby restaurants. Once a restaurant has been selected, the diner can then reserve a table through the hassle-free booking process. The app is completely free to use—no subscriptions, no vouchers, no hidden fees. Great selection of dining outlets with amazing discounts, that’s why Eatigo has hit the charts for the top food app. And the best part is you can also use the app abroad as it covers more more than 2,000 restaurants across Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, India and the Philippines.
- GRAB AND UBER. Well this is a no-brainer. Now that you’ve found a place to eat, the next question is how to get there. With traffic expected to become even more hellish, and finding parking even worse, Grab and Uber have been the answer to every commuter’s prayer (as long as the surge rate is reasonable) The ride-sharing revolution in the Philippines latched on the on-demand service vehicle app has grown into a multibillion-peso industry, especially since we have yet to have our own efficient mass transport system, unlike our Asian neighbors. For commuters, getting a convenient, comfortable ride is now at the tip of their fingers.
- AIRBn. Last, if you are planning for a weekend getaway with the family, you might want to download the AirBnB app. Frequent travelers swear by AirBnB as the most seamless app to book your accommodation. You choose your location, your price range, amenities and the type of accommodation you want, key in your preferred dates and number of persons staying, and AirBnB gives you a shortlist that would match your requirements and preferences. As Bob Newby’s would say: Easy peasy!
/ Tech Thoughts: “How different would people act if they couldn’t show off on social media? Would they still do it?”—Donna Lynn Hope
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