Actor Andy Garcia once portrayed a heart-of-gold businessman in Denver who had fatal dealings with a loan shark, the result of a desperate effort to save his expensive lifestyle and floundering company. The business model for “Afterlife Advice” involved archiving video tapes of terminally-ill patients, who won’t be around to give advice to their survivors.
Back in 1995, Jimmy the Saint didn’t have 800 million active Facebook users to help cut his overhead. Recognizing both the benefits of digital media and the eternal need for closure, one Israeli company is offering people a chance to Facebook after you die.
If I Die allows users to leave a video or text message to be posted after you die. These post-mortem messages can be published at once or scheduled over time (e.g., a birthday wish for a child each year). Death is verified by three trustees, close friends or family members who must unanimously agree that you have, indeed, passed on.
Creepy as this may seem, the impact of death on our digital life is a growing area of interest. Last year, Mashable assembled a short list of similar services, most dealing with the problem of transferring control of digital assets to someone else after you are gone. Some, though, are trying to give voice to the departed. Deathswitch eschews trusted sources to verify death for a pushing the button model, sending prompts to a client that requires an answer for proof of life.
This If I Die is not to be confused with the service of the same name created by a Ph.D. student in Berkeley. Inspired by an article about a young student who dropped dead in the middle of the street, that website provides a secure place to leave a message for others, to help them take care of loose ends and special instructions in the event of your death.
The Facebook application — created by Willook, an Israel-based startup specializing in time capsule services — has been available for about a year. The project may have received a recent boost of interest following the release of Facebook’s Timeline, a reflective view of each member’s digital life.
“We all have things to say and don’t necessarily have the audience with the patience to hear us,” CEO Eran Alfonta told Mashable.
Have you made a plan to help deal with your digital footprint after you die? If so, does it involve any final words to your followers?