The Facebook data dump is coming. Prepare like there's no tomorrow

The Facebook data dump is coming. Prepare like there’s no tomorrow

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has left a digital problem for a new generation to deal with: Where should our data go after we die? (photo by Scott Bowman)

I may not be the Snapchattiest person around, but I know my way around social media. I get the YikYaks, Whisper and LuLus of the world and the appeal of those apps. I love Instagram and Twitter. I follow everything social media and love that part of my job as a journalism instructor.

But still.

When it came time to set up my Facebook legacy contact I panicked. My cursor jumped back and forth like it was hopped up on Red Bull, unable to help me decide: To whom should I leave my digital legacy?

Let me back up. It’s no secret (through actual data or anecdotally) that high school and college students stay on social media other than Facebook because that’s where their parents are sure not to be. Students might post family-friendly content on Facebook, then go over to another app like YouTube, Vine, Instagram or Twitter, for the NSFW content. (Older adults, if you don’t know what that means, you’re going to want to look it up. We can all learn together here.)

So I don’t think Millennials are ready for the massive data dumpster that’s about to fall in their laps. No generation has had to deal with funeral planning and earthly belongings, as well as online and social media affairs. It’s a giant social experiment with some far-reaching ramifications.

Through the legacy contact, even post-mortem your Facebook account can ask your friends to wish you a happy birthday. Creepy? You bet, but not everyone agrees with me.

I have always said I wish the Library of Congress would archive not only our Tweets, but our Facebook timelines. I would much prefer my great-great- grandchildren see family photos from this year instead of that Tweet I just sent out about “LOLs about this cat video” or how to explain the phrase “I just can’t even.”

My problem is enhanced by my age. At 42, my child is not quite old enough to be on Facebook while my parents are too old to care to be on Facebook. I thought of my choices and ­- in a moment of evil genius – thought about how funny it would be to give my social media legacy to that mean guy I met last week at a meeting. How fitting that my life should drop in his lap, suddenly, with no warning!

In the end I chose my brother, though, at almost the same age, who knows how much longer than me he will live? Will he have time to implement my social media archival wishes? Will he care?

Either way, while humanity deals with these heavy, depressing issues I think we can all agree, the most important thing is this: Don’t delete my cat photos.


meredity facebook shot.png
Facebook has left a digital problem for a new generation to deal with: Where should our social media data go after we die? (photo by Scott Bowman)

I may not be the Snapchattiest person around, but I know my way around social media. I get the YikYaks, Whisper and LuLus of the world and the appeal of those apps. I love Instagram and Twitter. I follow everything social media and love that part of my job as a journalism instructor.

But still.

When it came time to set up my Facebook legacy contact I panicked. My cursor jumped back and forth like it was hopped up on Red Bull, unable to help me decide: To whom should I leave my digital legacy?

Let me back up. It's no secret (through actual data or anecdotally) that high school and college students stay on social media other than Facebook because that's where their parents are sure not to be. Students might post family-friendly content on Facebook, then go over to another app like YouTube, Vine, Instagram or Twitter, for the NSFW content. (Older adults, if you don't know what that means, you're going to want to look it up. We can all learn together here.)

So I don't think Millennials are ready for the massive data dumpster that's about to fall in their laps. No generation has had to deal with funeral planning and earthly belongings, as well as online and social media affairs. It's a giant social experiment with some far-reaching ramifications.

Through the legacy contact, even post-mortem your Facebook account can ask your friends to wish you a happy birthday. Creepy? You bet, but not everyone agrees with me.

I have always said I wish the Library of Congress would archive not only our Tweets, but our Facebook timelines. I would much prefer my great-great- grandchildren see family photos from this year instead of that Tweet I just sent out about "LOLs about this cat video" or how to explain the phrase "I just can't even."

My problem is enhanced by my age. At 42, my child is not quite old enough to be on Facebook while my parents are too old to care to be on Facebook. I thought of my choices and ­- in a moment of evil genius - thought about how funny it would be to give my social media legacy to that mean guy I met last week at a meeting. How fitting that my life should drop in his lap, suddenly, with no warning!

In the end I chose my brother, though, at almost the same age, who knows how much longer than me he will live? Will he have time to implement my social media archival wishes? Will he care?

Either way, while humanity deals with these heavy, depressing issues I think we can all agree, the most important thing is this: Don't delete my cat photos.


Eleanore

Eleanore

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