Tuesday, June 23

#25 - electronic history

You have reached the age of sixty-five, and although you are in good health, you have begun to ponder your legacy and what you will leave behind for your loved ones.

Over the past several decades, e-mail and social networking sites have remained viable entities. Whereas those in past generations would have a handful of letters, journals, or photo albums, by this time you have accumulated thousands upon thousands of e-mails and digital photographs. Not to mention any blogging you may have done.

You have already written a will, but you feel it is time to come up with some sort of plan for what personal information you would like your family or anyone else in the future to be able to access. Do you delete all of your old e-mails? Would you make albums out of the scores of photographs at your disposal? How would you decide who (if anyone) would receive access to these accounts? What factors might influence your decision?

In short, as you near the end of your life, what do you do with all of this personal electronic history?


Holly said...

I have often wondered this, actually, and have come to the conclusion that I like the idea of having "hard copies" of certain electronic files. Photos, for example, are easy to keep stored on a computer, but I like to print a few of the most memorable/important ones. A blog, too, I feel might be worth printing and at least putting in a binder. I would probably reveal the link to the actual site somewhere within so that if someone was interested enough, he/she would have access to it - like a member of a future generation finding a secret treasure from great grandma's past.

Matt said...

This one was sure a hit! I wrote it mainly because I wonder where all of this electronic correspondence is heading (it's fascinating to me how different our lives are than those in previous generations).

I'm guessing as e-mail and social networking evolve, answers to this question will present themselves. But not knowing what will happen, I would probably let my accounts lie dormant, making hard copies of the things I wanted to pass along. Folks can already access all of the facebook photos, but I might spend some time making photo albums (digital or actual prints, if those are still used).

trese63 said...

i never got to it, but i really love this question. I suppose what you've already made public is already a lot of information. In some ways, i feel like a lot of your electronic personal information is just such a jumble/mess - who would want to sort through it all to find those emails or online conversations or photos that had true special significance in your life? I am personally one to keep private blogs; I would need some time (i.e. many years) to separate myself from the things that I wrote in those private blogs to decide if I would want to share them with others. As for photos, I'd share them all. you never know which ones people will cherish most.