I made a decision yesterday while travelling home – I’m going to make allowance in my will towards the ongoing existence of my digital identity.
Now, don’t panic, I’m not ill and don’t intend on dying anytime soon. But it will happen. And it so happens that with recent changes in living arrangements I’ve been in the updating Will mode for a while. (Read there – I’ve been slack in finalising it.)
Anyhow, I was thinking about how we talk about how the things we do digitally are so more ‘sticky’ or permanent and how one should be careful of what we put online as it will be ‘searchable forever’. But will they? Forever is a long time and while I understand the sentiment in such arguments, the fact is that if I let my domains expire that a lot of what I do would be inaccesible. And someday even the information from them that is stored in google’s cache will be expired. Then, it will be gone. Much is said about how to not do things personally online that might jeopordise opportunities in the future, but I don’t see much about what to do if you actually do want to ensure the ongoing nature of the opportunities you have taken.
Now it might not be so bad for things to disappear, really, when it comes to anything personally I do. However I thought of Lifekludger as an entity and how I believe in what its potential is and how such potential might not be realised in my time. Lifekludger will depend on the increasing nature of online connetedness between people and so while progress and time might be on it’s side, time and progress isn’t for individual human beings.
So I thought about how much of what I do online is important to me and how much I value what it is I’m building oline – whether personally or otherwise. And I figured that if I was serious about it then I should do something to help it survive after me. Hence I thought of the Will.
Here’s my plan. I’m going to put in my Will that a certain sum of money be taken from my estate and put in an interest bearing account with responsibility of maintaining given domains and hosting company fees falling to a pre-determined and informed trusted person. I figure all these online cost are likely to get cheaper in future anyway so the outlay won’t be huge and interest might even account for most of it. At current prices I’d only be looking at about a $3-5k amount. And if Lifekludger finds legs before then well and good, my personal domain will survive even longer … FWIW
So there you have it. Have you thought about the longevity of your digital identity?
Dave – Lifekludger
PS: As would happen, after writing I see there’s a startup called Legacy Locker that deals with the distibution of passwords to online accounts. This doesn’t however allow for ongoing expenses involved but I might consider using a service like that in conjunction. That said, who will guarantee survival of a Third party online service?