Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Future Facebook Ghosts

I recently came across a friend who has someone friended on Facebook who I know had been dead for about a year.

At first my reaction was THAT'S MORBID! But within a few seconds I have moved on to No, that's respectful and honouring of their memory.

I then started thinking about how that might carry on into the future.

Imagine Facebook remains the social networking utility of choice well into the future - well after you and I are all gone. What will happen to our accounts? As we each pass away and our friends honour us by leaving links to us as friends... what will happen?

We can't check out profiles of people more than one person removed (and few of us have our privacy settings set low enough to even allow one person removed viewing)... and of course we'll all take the passwords to our profiles with us to the grave. (Right?)

So eventually there could be this web of interconnected Facebook ghosts who no-one can actually access.

Actually that's probably not realistic at all. IF Facebook were to actually last that long I suspect that there would either be some sort of protocol put in place to either delete dormant accounts, or possibly to 'de-classify' the archive of dormant accounts after 'X' amount of time. Say 120 years after an account was created, or 30 years after it's last use? Or a certain amount of time after the declared birthdate of a user's profile - say 150 years (to allow for both the death of the user and any immediate descendant)?

I don't know.

Just musing on our digital immortality.

No comments: