Social Media from Beyond the Grave

[well]Formerly a picture of Rob Ford presumably about to eat a Zombie’s arm. Photographer Kevin Edward Proulx has asked us to take it down as he seeks copyright justice.[/well]

Are you into the undead? Zombies in search of braaaains and blood lurked across the city on Saturday at Toronto’s 11th annual Zombie Walk in support of the Heart and Stroke foundation.

If you’re one of those people who loves zombie culture and everything undead, well then, I have some news for you.

I just heard about new apps on the market that let you do some facebooking…from beyond the grave.

Yes its real and yes it’s freaking me out.

The “If I Die” app will upload a video clip of your final message to Facebook…after you die.

Apparently already has thousands of users who’ve signed up for the service, and there are similar apps that are now turning death into a virtual space on social media profiles.

I’m not sure how I would feel about watching a video like this. I have lost special people in my life and I think it would really bother me.

There is another app called that uses artificial intelligence to learn your Twitter habits. After you die, the app will continue to tweet as if you are still living.

It will eventually be able to predict the tweets a dead person would retweet or favourite.

I don’t like it. I don’t like that this technology is trying to conquer death. I don’t like that I can “live on” in the virtual world, through these apps.

Sidenote: It is Facebook policy to memorialize a dead user’s page, and while no one is able to log on and no new contacts can be added, friends left behind can post messages of love and sympathy on the user’s wall. You can send private messages to the user but nobody is able to log on and view them.

I heard about all of this in the “How we Die Now” series from the National Post. Just in time for Halloween, the special series explores the Great Equalizer in a number of articles.  I recommend checking it out.

One of the stories questions the ethics of these “beyond the grave” apps, noting that the technologies will have an enormous impact on how society views life and death.

“And what happens when technology progresses to the point that realistic holograms can mimic the likeness of a human after death?”

“What will become of a society that never has to learn to say goodbye — where nothing is ever forgotten and nobody ever really disappears?”

I don’t know the answer. What do you think about it?  Let me know in the comments section below.