By Peter Billingham Digital Death Advisor
To Be Memorialised or Not, That Is The Question.
What do you want to happen to your Facebook account after you die?
Do you want the story of your life told through your posts on Facebook?
Do you want it downloaded and saved for private viewing?
Do you want it removed forever?
What is your choice? If you have any preference, then take this simple step to secure your Facebook digital legacy.
A New Culture Is Born
Facebook has changed culture.
One definition of culture is "the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society." Never before in the history of humankind have the masses been able to store the daily goings-on of their lives. Stored to be retrieved whenever they or someone else wants to view them as much as is available Facebook. Is that progress? Is that good? Is that positive?
Well, yes and no. It depends on what is on your Facebook account I suppose.
Storing The History of Our Lives
I once caused a stir in my town that made the local paper.
I was the minister of a new church that met in an old traditional church building. We sold the ancient wooden pews, pulpit, and furniture to a nightclub. It did not go well. We wanted modern furniture; the community thought we were wrecking the place. It made the front page. It was not good news for us!
However, what was good news was that we discovered hidden treasure. As we moved the old pulpit, buried in the floor underneath was a glass jar, a time capsule of sorts. It contained journals, letters, documents and personal possessions. These belonged to a group of people who had impacted the community 170 years earlier. I searched through these records. They told the history and journey from being white slaves to community leaders. The story of men and women who were nail makers. The sad news is the pews went. The great news was saving the history of these people.
I wrote a book about it. It took me years to research their lives. Those documents helped me learn about "the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society." I learned about their culture. Now forever, people can read about the lives of the Bromsgrove nail makers.
Would You Like Your Life Story Told Through Your Facebook Posts?
If your grandchildren or great grandchildren wanted to study your life, what story would it show if they scrolled through your Facebook page? What did you find funny? What were you were doing on a certain day? Would you want your "ideas, customs, and social behaviour" as revealed through your Facebook page, accessible to all for all time? That is the choice you need to make.
Would you like your life story told through your Facebook posts?
Do a simple search on, "The most stupid things people have posted on Facebook." You may guess that some people would rather not have grandchildren and great grandchildren learn about their lives from their Facebook pages!
What Can Happen To My Facebook Account If I Die?
You can choose to have your Facebook page memorialised, or permanently deleted when you die.
What Are Memorialised Accounts?
Facebook says that memorialised accounts are a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away. Next to your name it will say "Remembering." Friends may still be able to post content on your timeline. All the photos and posts you have ever made stay visible on the site with whom they were formerly shared. Memorialising your account your birthday reminder would not appear, nor would you show in "People You May Know" feeds.
If you decide to have your account memorialised, you can nominate a legacy contact who can have access to your account after you have died. Your legacy contact can post new content, respond to messages and add friends.
If you want to have your Facebook page deleted after your death then completing a Digital Preferences Register tells your family of that final wish. (Download a free template here) By validating with Facebook their relationship, a family member can ask for your account to be deleted after your death.
The simple step is this. If you want to have your Facebook page memorialised then choosing someone you trust to be your legacy contact secures your Facebook digital legacy.
A key factor is that changing your memorialised account can not happen unless you have a legacy contact. This action may be a valid choice for you. Molly Kalan has written on Death Goes Digital about how family and friends can use Facebook to help deal with grief and loss.
The choice is yours.
The key point of this post is it is about your choice. It is about actioning your wishes about your Facebook account. If you want your Facebook page memorialised, but with some control by someone your love and trust, then take the simple step of securing your Facebook digital legacy by allocating a legacy contact.
You can add, change or remove your legacy contact in your account's Security Settings at any time. To add a legacy contact:
Click in the top right of Facebook and select Settings
In the left menu, click Security
Click Legacy Contact
Type in a friend's name and click Add
To let your friend know they are now your legacy contact, click Send
You could, of course, do nothing. Your Facebook page will remain live and active. However, that could cause worry and sadness to the people left behind.
First, chose what you want to have happen to your Facebook account after your death. Would you like it deleted or memorialised? If you want it removed, then make this clear on your Digital Preferences Register. If you want it memorialised, then chose someone you trust to be your legacy contact to manage your Facebook page after your death. Then take that simple step to secure your Facebook Digital Legacy.
Check out these other posts on digital legacy planning.
For more details on these choices check out the help pages on Facebook here: