Tweets from the afterlife: apps for the deadby Silvana Calcagno - 2014.06.11
A social network that keeps you alive forever or at least lets you update your status, even after you die. DeadSocial allows users to schedule posts, tweets, photos and videos that will be posted online once the user has shuffled off this mortal coil. It's a modern kind of will exclusively for the online virtual world. Once subscribed, the user can choose the executor of his or her will, who will be able to manage the social image and communication once the user is deceased.
DeadSocial isn't the only online will creator. Sites such as LivesOn also let you tweet from beyond the grave, while If I Die allows you to set up a video or a post on Facebook from the next world. The existence and the success of these apps is bound to cause some debate. Eran Alfonta, the creator of If I Die, says that the site's users are mainly parents who are worried about leaving words of advice or comfort for their children to reassure them in difficult moments of life. While there are also those who just do it through simple narcissism or fear. Alfonta himself admits he is terrified of flying and, because he's a frequent traveller, he constantly updates his digital testament to make sure that everything is in order if the worst were to happen.
Social networks of this kind fulfil several purposes. On the one hand it responds to the - slightly questionable - need to communicate, share and leave a lasting mark. Man has always sought the philosopher's stone to make him immortal. Recording one's thoughts in the immense maze of the Internet seems to be a kind of cure-all for the destiny that awaits us all. On the other hand, there is the need to democratise the concept of death. It's the 'great leveller' that reminds humans that we are all equal. An ordinary person therefore has the same right and the same opportunity as a celebrity to leave and pass on the image of himself that he chooses.
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