This morning I chanced upon this article which is a treasure-trove of information concerning how to plan for your digital legacy. Read it, print it out, follow the links.
Here are some things I learned:
There is actually a website devote to this topic called The Digital Beyond. Fascinating. The creators of the website co-wrote a book called Your Digital Afterlife. I will be checking out ad reviewing soon!
The sheer massiveness of digital data never ceases to amaze me:
“Today, there are more than 1 billion Facebook users worldwide, some 500 million people who play online, role-playing games, and more than 160 million members of LinkedIn. Moreover, some 5 billion images are shared on Flickr, more than 40 million blogs parcel out insights and advice, and 120 billion videos call YouTube home, impressive even if half of them are of cats doing tricks.
“Online, we generate a lot of assets, but we don’t think of them as assets,” says Eric Goldman, a professor of law and director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law in California. “We don’t manage them as assets. We create content. We create data. We develop relationships. All of those things are valuable, but we don’t manage them as valuable assets.”
Law professor and recent responder in FamilyScholars Symposium, Naomi Cahn, opines in the piece about our reluctance to think about digital estate planning, let alone death:
“We tend to not write wills and plan for incapacity or death,” says Naomi R. Cahn, the Harold H. Greene Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School. “But most people are not putting off creating a plan for their digital assets because they don’t want to think about it. They don’t know they actually have digital assets that have any value and are worth planning for.”
Cahn is teaching a class this semester on Elder Law and how I wish I could sit in!
What are your digital assets worth? For example, I’d love to know: what value you would give your commenting history on FamilyScholars? PS-I would rate the general comment atmosphere pretty high!
“A 2011 survey by McAfee, Inc., the world’s largest dedicated security technology company, found that some Americans are not only aware of their digital assets, they can put a price on them. These individuals estimate the value of their digital effects—photo libraries, personal information, and entertainment files—at about $55,000, on average, compared to $37,438 for consumers from other countries.
Survey respondents said they had nearly 2,800 digital files stored on at least one electronic device, such as a smartphone, computer, or game console. The assets were varied and broad, including music and movie downloads; photographs and memorabilia; e–mails; health, financial, and insurance records; résumés and portfolios; and hobbies and other projects.
The survey found that individuals valued personal memories most highly because they are “impossible to restore” if lost. On average, they valued personal memories at $18,919, far higher than personal records ($6,956), career information ($3,798), hobbies and projects ($2,848), personal communications ($2,825), and entertainment files ($2,092).”
Now, this next piece of info didn’t surprise me but really made me think about all the music and e-books I’ve purchased…
“Apple owning all of your music in iTunes has sparked a number of posts and some rage, but then it always dies down,” says Tom Mighell, a national technology consultant and attorney. “It is not something that has reached a point of enraging people, but then not that many of us have been in a situation where someone we care about has died and we cannot inherit their music or e–books.”
My CD/cassette tape collection and ancient stereo are looking a lot more valuable!
The article goes on to address lawyer-ly type practical things to think about and concludes with sharing info about a new social media site for the terminally ill called My Last WishApp that connects people with similar dreams.
A lot to think about. And hear I am blogging…adding to my digital legacy that someone will have to ignore, delete, or keep…someday.