No one wants to be forgotten when they go, but are controversial new apps that offer to update your social media after death going too far?
LivesOn is the latest Twitter service to allow users to carry on their 140-character conversations from beyond the grave.
Developers say the new service, which is due to launch in March, could be seen as “a legitimate but small way to live on.”
Dave Bedwood who is a creative partner at London-based advertising agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine, which is developing LivesOn, added: “Cryogenics costs a fortune; this is free and I’d bet it will work better than a frozen head”.
But he said he accepted it would divide opinion. “It divides people on a gut level before you even get to the philosophical and ethical arguments,” he added.
Once you create a LivesOn Twitter account, it will keep on tweeting even if you pass on after analysing your main Twitter feed and style of writing so it can continue to populate your feed after you go. You nominate an executor who can decide whether or not to keep your account live.
The service keeps on scouring the internet, retweeting what it believes would have been your favourite tweets and posting the sort of links you used to like, creating a personal digital afterlife. As its tagline says: “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting.”
Already, tech forum users have dubbed the idea “weird”. One said: “Heard it all now” and another added: “People have heard enough of my rubbish jokes or me rabbiting on, I don’t think they would want to hear it all again from the grave.” Someone else joked: “I’m going to declare myself dead and see what I tweet! Might be an eye opener!”
But, despite the incredulity surrounding the new app, it is not the first to be offering this kind of service.
DeadSocial, which bills itself as a free digital legacy tool, launched in April last year. DeadSocial allows users to send messages directly to their private Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts following their death. You can also send out one final message or a series of scheduled messages and you can release unseen video and audio messages.
Then, there’s If I Die, which launched in January the same year. Its makers say it is: “The first and only Facebook application that enables you to create a video or text message that will only be published after you die.”
“We all want to leave our mark in this world,” say If I Die’s developers. “However, only a handful of lucky or talented people get a chance to leave their legacy for future generations to come. World fame is just around the corner, but so is death. What will you leave behind.”
The apps mirror the plot of Charlie Brooker’s drama series Black Mirror in which a grieving woman used a digital service to communicate with her dead boyfriend.
It seems, at least in cyperspace, there really is life after death.