It’s probably the rare person in this social media age who has not wondered what would happen to their Facebook and Twitter accounts in the event of their unexpected (or perhaps, more sadly, expected) death.
What would people say to you? And what would your last post be? You could get an answer to at least the second question with a new app- one many find a bit morbid- called “If I Die.” The app is interesting, transmitting a message you’ve composed ahead of your trip to the Great Hereafter. The way it works is that you leave a sort of Facebook will, a final video note to your friends and followers recorded before your passing. (Duh.) When you die, three pre-selected “trustees” must confirm your death to the service.
When all three are in agreement that you are, in fact, pushing up daisies, the service pushes out the message to your nearest and dearest via social media, giving them one last interaction with you before your Facebook account is memorialized and your Twitter feed goes silent. Although some have dubbed the app a bit disturbing, others have noted that especially in the instance of terminal illness, a person will have the comfort of knowing that they can control their final words to friends via the “If I Die” app. Digital media specialist Karalee Evans of agency Text 100 explains:
“The person that has recorded the message is controlling how their social networks find out about their passing. And it could be something that helps to mitigate that flaming by switching the power balance.”
I like to think of myself as an early adopter, but as someone who lost someone very dear to me coming up on a year now, I have to say I’d have mixed feelings about something like this. On one hand, it does give you a tiny bit more closure- if that sort of thing even really exists- in the event a friend passes on suddenly. On the other? What if they mention you? What if they don’t mention you? Grief is a strange, easily influenceable emotion, and it is with no small amount of feeling old I posit that such a prospect is very unsettling indeed.
Would you consider a final message to your loved ones from beyond? Would you feel soothed by such a message if someone you cared for passed on?