I spend much of my life online, naturally using social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+, Instagram and Linkedin. I recently downloaded the Digital Legacy Association Social Media Will to document my wishes surrounding my social media accounts and what I want to happen to them after I die. I have a life-limiting condition, meaning I have had to do my end of life planning and put things in place for when the time comes, including my advanced care plan, my funeral wishes and lasting power of attorney (LPA). Naturally, my social media will is a part of that end of life planning. I have kept putting this off but have finally completed my social media will and will give a copy to my family and keep a copy in my files.
We live so much of our lives online. We live through our social media accounts as much as we live in the real world. Social media has brought a whole new world of connection and participation and we share our lives and information about us on these social media accounts in the knowledge we have control over who sees them and what happens to it.
However, we are all going to die one day. What happens to our social media accounts when that happens? Well, unless we plan for it, the account could be left online when we don’t want it to be, or it could be deleted against our wishes by well meaning family members. It’s important we all plan ahead for our deaths, including our social media will. You may want your account to be memorialised, closed or deactivated. You may want it to be kept online for people to remember you by and to interact with your account, much like visiting your grave but online instead. However you may want your social media accounts closed and your information taken off the internet. If you don’t plan your social media will and do not appoint a digital executor for your social media accounts, your wishes surrounding your social media accounts may not be followed, especially if you have never discussed these wishes with those around you.
Having my social media will means my mum knows exactly what I want to happen to my account. She will also post blogs for me after I have died and upload the legacy video I have just made. Not only will she be left with the social media will, but I have created a document with instructions on how to manage my accounts, how to post blogs and how to share the legacy video, so that she can follow my wishes exactly.
Have you planned your social media will? If you use social media, I urge you to complete a social media will and appoint a digital executor to manage your accounts and your digital life after your death. Just like making a will for finances and other items, your social media will is just as important. So get planning!
Lucy Watts MBE. 23 year old Patient Leader, Charity Ambassador and Trustee, Writer and Speaker. MBE for services to young people with disabilities in the 2016 New Years Honours, aged 22. A positive, driven, self-motivated, grateful and determined (or stubborn) overachiever. Also the owner of Assistance Dog Molly.