Whether we are aware of it or not, the Internet has a tough time forgetting things. No, it’s not a personal grudge, but what we say and do online gets embedded into the fabrics of digital history. |
Remember that late night rant about your ex girlfriend? Or how about that photo shoot when you had a few too many cocktails at your uncle’s wedding? From the sublime to the downright nightmarish, the Internet has been silently storing these moments as long as you have been able to share. Accounts, uploads, interactions: They are all components in the overall track record the World Wide Web likes to call your “digital footprint.” The higher the rate of activity, the greater one’s footprint, or “online presence,” will be.
In the world of online commerce, digital footprints are a treasured commodity and certainly do not come cheap. For a prospective business, digital footprints hold the key to unlocking their target demographics’ shopping patterns, browsing habits and behavioral characteristics. It holds the potential to predict where the user spends his time, what he or she is interested in, and what they are likely to buy. Many companies dedicate the entirety of their efforts to mining this data for the purpose of selling it to outside parties.
Depending on how you feel about this, you have either chosen to 1.) Exercise caution, 2.) Stay off social media networks altogether or, 3.) Neither, because you don’t mind if some companies make a few dollars off your favorite online hangouts.
If you have ever tried before to erase your digital footprint you know just how tricky the task can be. The Internet has a bit of an unforgiving nature, and its surface is most certainly tough to crack. In order to wipe out any shred of evidence suggesting your existence, one must embark on an arduous journey including, but not limited to, the deletion of personal banking, email accounts, social media profiles and even records of past employment or academic enrollment.
Now, if you think doing all of this is hard, what if something happened to you and you could no longer manage your online identify by yourself? As pessimistic as the idea might seem, this scenario is an unfortunate reality for millions of people around the world. According to digital asset planning company Entrustet, a total of 2.89 million Facebook users worldwide passed away in 2012 alone.
When someone becomes ill or passes away, it is often likely that the individual’s accounts remain online because no one has the permission or login information to take them down. As a result, the friends and family of the deceased have to face the untimely and painful reminder of seeing their loved one’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter profile time and time again. It can be a traumatizing experience and an extremely tedious ordeal to remedy, with some social media sites even requesting the Loved One’s death certificate for proof.
A solution has been found, however, due to the innovators behind recent success story Passed-on.com. Members of the website dedicated to existing loved ones will never have to worry about what happens to their digital footprint once they are no longer here, for they have recently added a feature that assures a situation like this would never happen.
If you are unfamiliar, www.Passed-On is a social enterprise where people can upload and save important thoughts, wishes and multimedia for the ones they love. Whether it is a personal message from the heart, a love confession, a late apology or a long-kept secret, PassedOn is a web-based global initiative for those who wish to create "Emotional Wills" and ensure that their most important memories will be carefully protected, shared, and cherished forever. Users need only create an account to receive a free lifetime membership.
During sign up, users now have the option to add their private account information to the PassedOn security vault or release it to their Loved Ones when their time has come. If you choose to store your information with PassedOn, we will swiftly proceed with the deletion of your digital footprint in the event something should happen to you. If you choose to give the information to the loved one(s) of your choosing, they will act on your behalf in the deletion or maintenance of your online presence.
With PassedOn’s latest functional addition, members will never again have to worry about the fate of their digital footprint when they are gone. No longer will someone’s online memory linger indefinitely like a ghost, further adding to the grief already felt by those closest to the departed. They place the destiny of your digital footprint back into your hands, not into some company’s database or social media’s fine print.
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