Tuesday, January 18, 2011

After you're gone, what happens to your social media archive?

This gives a whole new meaning to deathless prose. It's another item that should be embedded into your social-media policy--your personal one and the one you're involved in professionally: Who gets access to what when you're no longer around to manage your social accounts.

That could mean when you leave the organization, or it could mean after your death--the latter being the main focus of the authors of Your Digital Afterlife: When Facebook, Flickr and Twitter Are Your Estate, What's Your Legacy?, and creators of the website The Digital Beyond, which can serve as a planning tool for you.  I think the principles in the book are smart ones to consider even for everyday reasons. A promotion, transfer, change of job or a catastrophe could mean the sudden loss of access to important accounts, passwords and information. What's your backup plan?

In this useful Fresh Air interview with the authors of Your Digital Afterlife, you'll hear a variety of considerations to keep in mind, whether you're concerned about a photo archive on Flickr or your Facebook posts. If you're already backing up and downloading your content from social sites, don't forget to leave instructions for how those can be accessed--and listen to the authors talk about the situations where you don't want anyone to see your data later. Then do some succession planning for yourself and your work accounts.


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