Tweeting from beyond the grave

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Some people say social media will be the death of us.

Two new platforms suggest that death isn’t a problem — you can keep up the tweeting after you’re long gone.

Living users can set up an account with DeadSocial and schedule posts for particular dates after they have died. (Photo by Tugba Tirpan)
Living users can set up an account with DeadSocial and schedule posts for particular dates after they have died. (Photo by Tugba Tirpan)

DeadSocial is a platform that allows us to live forever on the social web,” James Norris, London-based creator of DeadSocial, said. “Users create a series of messages in accordance with their social media that are only distributed to their private social media accounts on specific dates post-death.”

Users set up an account while still alive and tell it what to say on particular dates. Once deceased, social media displays the messages created when they previously scheduled it.

A second and separate site sends tweets after you die based on your previous tweeting patterns and interests.

Dave Bedwood is another U.K.-based developer of a similar platform. LIVESON.org is a site based on an algorithm, that sends out messages that imitate the way you talk as well as typical interests you would have. The site brings about as much mystery as its tagline: “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting.”

When users sign up, they choose an executor, or person responsible for activating the account when deceased.

“It feels evolutionary in a way, inevitable that man will use technology to somehow live on,” Bedwood said. “Popular culture has gone on about it for years from ‘Lawnmower Man’ to the ‘Matrix.’ Religions have sold us after life, good or bad, for eons.”

Bedwood and Norris are strong believers of constant change in technology and popular culture. Pushing the limits is crucial to positive technological change.

Norris said the trend will catch on. He has been working with end-of-life doctors and charities in the U.K. to help build a product of value. The controversy has sparked a large amount of interest already as this entirely new perspective on social media arises.

Bedwood pointed out that some people are worried about the ethical nature of it all. “People who have taken offense, by and large, think we are just trying to bring back the dead, which isn’t the case,” he said.

Jessica Rush, a human development major, doesn’t think the trend will take flight.

“People have become so concerned about what they say and do in the cyber world that they want to continue being socially connected after they die? Messed up.”

Maybe some people would agree with Rush; however, the site developers think shifting attitudes will pique interest in the idea.

“I think that it will be very successful in time, especially as attitudes towards death and our aging population change,” Norris said.

For more information on either platform, visit deadsoci.al or liveson.org.

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