2011 is Heating Up!

February 16, 2011 · Posted in Event, Interview, Speaking, Uncategorized · 1 Comment 

2011Since the start of the new year, the digital legacy space is getting lots of attention. For me personally, it’s been an exciting ride. Here’s a quick run down of the first 3 months of my year:

  • January 6 – The New York Times Magazine published the cover story, “Cyberspace When You’re Dead“, which had been in the works since they interviewed me back in August, 2010.
  • January 11 – La Presse, Montreal,  published “Les fantômes de facebook“, including an interview with me. (Google Translate English version.)
  • January 16 – The Sunday Guardian, New Delhi, ran an interview in “Digital (after)life: Protect your legacy after you go“, (not available online).
  • February 8 – I was in studio to record an interview for CBC Radio “Spark“, a show about technology and culture. Air date TBA.
  • February 19 – I’m privileged to be speaking about digital legacy at TEDxConcordia in Montreal.
  • March 2 – I’ll be interviewed about digital legacy for a yet-to-be-announced documentary film about Facebook.
  • March 14 – “You’re Dead, Your Data Isn’t: What Happens Now?” is the SXSW panel let by my friends John Romano and Evan Carroll at The Digital Beyond. I’m thrilled to be participating along with Jeremy Toeman from Legacy Locker and Dazza Greenwood from CIVICS.com.

And that’s just my brag list. John and Evan have been getting lots of interviews and coverage of their newly released book, “Your Digital Afterlife” , which I’ll review in an upcoming post. And, on the business side, I’ll be writing about the new services on the market that I’ve discovered since the new year and some venture capital funding coming out of silicon valley.

This year, I plan to spend more time working in the digital legacy space, interviewing people about their experiences, speaking with industry professionals to understand their struggles and helping to educate people about this very important topic.

I’ll tell you about my discoveries here on Death and Digital Legacy .com and hope that you’ll join me for what will be a very interesting year.

Celebrities Declaring Digital Death

November 29, 2010 · Posted in Event, Social Network · 3 Comments 

buylifeDigital Life Sacrifice has celebrities Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Elijah Wood, Jennifer Hudson, Ryan Seacrest and Alicia Keys “dying” on Facebook and Twitter accounts on December 1 for World Aids Day.

According to the Associated Press, “celebrities have filmed ‘last tweet and testament’ videos and will appear in ads showing them lying in coffins to represent what the campaign calls their digital deaths.”

The site BuyLife.org declares that the celebrities will die on December 1 but “you can buy their lives back.” The goal is to raise  $1 million for Keys’ charity Keep A Child Alive, which supports treatment and care of children with AIDS and their families in Africa and India.

Lady Gaga has more than 7 million followers on Twitter and almost 24 million fans on Facebook. She and the other celebrities will sign off of their social networks until $1 million is raised.

“We’re trying to sort of make the remark: Why do we care so much about the death of one celebrity as opposed to millions and millions of people dying in the place that we’re all from?” said Leigh Blake, the president and co-founder of Keep a Child Alive.

It is a creative way to leverage the large number of social network celebrity supporters and draw attention to a very worthy cause. I wonder if this high-profile action will have the secondary effect of making people think about their own digital legacy and what would happen to their social profiles if they died.

In the press release, Alicia Keys called for more people to give up their social network activity as part of the campaign. “It just doesn’t have to be just because you’re a celebrity or something like that. It can be anybody.”

PodCamp Montreal This Weekend

September 9, 2010 · Posted in Conference, Event, Speaking · Comment 

(This has been cross-posted from my marketing blog. I spoke about Digital Legacy for the very first time at PodCamp Montreal in 2009. If you can make it to Montreal this weekend, I’d love to see you at my session.)

Despite not being a podcaster (yet), I love attending podcamps. This weekend is the third edition of PodCamp Montreal and the first time at UQAM’s Coeur des sciences. (It’s also my seventh PodCamp!)

Once again, I am looking forward to a weekend full of tech, social media and great discussions around digital communications and community. There will be 3 tracks of presentations this year; 2 in French, 1 in English.

I’m privileged to be speaking once again. I’ll be presenting a session that is specifically targeted to digital content creators, and is part of my digital legacy series:

Your Web Content : Forever or Fragile?
In the last 15 years we’ve converted analog to digital and put everything on the Web and told that it will be there forever. What if we’re wrong?

Sunday, September 12, 2010
9:30  AM
Chaufferie (hidden away at 175, avenue du Président-Kennedy)
Google Map

The full weekend schedule, including information about Friday’s first ever MediaCamp and the kick off party is here.

Can’t make it to PodCamp Montreal? Check the session schedule to see which sessions will be live streamed to the Internet. (Yes, mine will be.)

Thanks to the PodCamp organizing team Michelle Sullivan, Sylvain Grand’Maison, Laurent Lasalle and Laurent Maisonnave who have done a great job pulling this event together.

Register here.
PodCamp Montréal

Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Dark Age

August 11, 2010 · Posted in Conference, Event · Comment 

avoiding extinctionI’m excited that my panel submission has been accepted to the voting stage of the SXSW Interactive festival, happening March 11 – 15, 2011 in Austin, Texas. More than 2,400 proposals have been submitted for consideration. Please vote for my session from August 9 to 27 to help it through to the next round of consideration. And, if you feel so inclined, please leave a comment on my session’s Panel Picker page, as this may encourage others unfamiliar with me or my work to vote for my proposal.

Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Dark Age evolved through speaking sessions that I’ve been doing over that the last year. It is particularly relevant to content creators and people who put so much of their work online. (Here’s Wikipedia about the possibility of a digital dark age.)

Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Dark Age

Here’s the session description:

Many think that the web is forever and our personal stories, work and files will live on stored on hard drives and online. Driven by low cost storage, easy distribution and social networks we’ve put our lives online at an amazing pace and converted analog to digital. But, are we inadvertently creating a digital dark age?

In the last 15-years, online photo and video sites, blogs, email and hard drives full of files have replaced the previous generation’s analog heirlooms.

Looking at an old family album from 1910, you’ll be able to view the photos today. Will your descendants be able to see your digital pictures 100 years from now?

The web is actually a fragile place where your digital life’s work and can disappear without warning. Stored data can suffer from digital obsolescence and become unusable.

To prevent the loss of historically significant records and collections, library and archival organizations have been working on digital preservation issues for years.

You may not be a person destined for the history books, but, to your family, friends, colleagues and descendants, your stories and work are just as important, and possibly even more relevant.

This session will look at what each of us can do today to preserve and pass on our digital legacy, how to determine what to save, what steps have happened at the institutional level and determine how they can be adapted for individuals.

If you are a prolific digital creator, this is a must attend session.

Five Questions Answered

  1. Why won’t my digital content be safe forever on the Internet?
  2. Isn’t the Internet Archive keeping everything?
  3. Why is the archive of files on my hard drive/CD/DVDs at risk?
  4. My data is insignificant. Why would anyone care about it in the future?
  5. How do I ensure that my important digital files survive me?

SXSW Voting

panel_pie_2011_0Here’s how the voting works:

  • 30% Community Voting (that’s YOU); 30% SXSW Staff Picks; 40% SXSW Advisory Board Picks
  • Voting runs from August 9 to 27, 2010
  • First 200 sessions are announced September 20, with more following on November 8

To vote:

  • Before Friday, August 27, 2010 go to PanelPicker.sxsw.com a
  • click “Sign In” at the top right of the page
  • If you have never registered on SXSW.com before, click “create a new account” and fill out the simple form
  • Once you are logged into the PanelPicker, you can click here to get to my session, or navigate alphabetically to Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Age to vote.

Thank you for your support. See you at SXSW Interactive 2011!

First Digital Death Day A Success

May 20, 2010 · Posted in Conference, Event · 6 Comments 
Photo: The Digital Beyond

Photo: The Digital Beyond

From all signs, it appeared that today’s Digital Death Day was a great success. The first (un)conference dedicated to death and technology drew 30 participants, including sponsors Legacy Locker, Entrustet and Data Inherit – all services catering to people who want a secure way to pass on the their digital assets after they’ve died.

Twenty sessions were proposed, including:

  • Thinking About Forever (@jeremytoeman & @bigburg)
  • Defining Digital Assets (@jeremytoeman & @bigburg)
  • How Can Funeral Directors Help Families with Digital Death (@ryanthogmartin)
  • Safe Media Hosting Requirements
  • Open-source Model for Digital Afterlife Services (@DigitalBeyond)
  • Relative Strangers (@restinpixels)
  • Legal Context: Terms of Use, Service Providers and Digital Death
  • Session notes will be available in the next few days. In the meantime, you can check out the highlights of the day from the Twitter back channel.

    Recap on My PodCamp Montreal Session

    September 23, 2009 · Posted in Event, Speaking · Comment 

    I want to thank everyone who participated in my session on Death and Digital Legacy at PodCamp Montreal last Saturday. Your openness to share your thoughts and experiences were really inspiring to me. I received some incredible feedback from the session, messages of support, Twitter DMs offering me more stories, and an amazing amount of positive Tweets during the session.

    Sadly, my session was not in a room that had live streaming, and my own attempts to capture it on video failed miserably due to an under-charged battery on my Flip camera. However, Friday night, Daniele Rossi spoke with me about what I was planning for my session:

    Speaking about Death and Digital Legacy at PodCamp Montreal is the start of what I hope to be an exploration of a subject that impacts everyone, but especially those who are at the forefront of the social media evolution.

    My thanks again to all who attended.

    PodCamp Montreal: Death and Digital Legacy

    September 18, 2009 · Posted in Event, Speaking · Comment 

    Cross posted from adelemcalear.com

    podcampmtl-logoMy PodCamp Montreal session on Death and Digital Legacy is scheduled for Saturday @ 2:30 PM. And, to be honest, I considered canceling it.

    This morning, news spread of the murder of Montreal blogger Renée Wathelet (@endirectdesiles). A fixture in the community, Renée fell in love with Mexico’s Isla Mujeres and moved there last year March. Although, we spoke on Twitter a few times, I only met her once, when she was in town for a visit last February and* came to Twestival.

    So many people here loved Renée and were close to her. Many of those same people may be attending PodCamp Montreal. And so, I questioned whether I should cancel my session out of respect to her grieving friends. But, after consideration, I’m going ahead with the session in honour of all that Renée has created and her own digital legacy.

    So, if you are interested in the topic of Death and Digital Legacy, I encourage you to attend my session. It will be a round table discussion and participation is encouraged. I will not be making a formal presentation, but instead will share stories that illustrate different discussion points. Some of these may include:

    • how do communities mourn online?
    • what are the policies of online social sites for families to access loved ones’ accounts?
    • do you need a digital trustee named in your will?
    • what are some of the new services that have started to manage digital legacy?
    • what are the hazards of dormant accounts, whether the user is deceased or not?

    I hope to see you there.

    Saturday, September 19, 2009
    2:30 PM
    UQAM Design Centre
    1440 rue Sanguinet

    *UPDATE 9/21/09: For more about Renée Wathelet, her friend and YulBiz founder Philippe Martin was interviewed about her on Montreal radio (in French) on 9/21. Listen here.

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    SXSW 2010: Panel Voting

    August 17, 2009 · Posted in Event, Speaking · Comment 

    Cross posted from adelemcalear.com

    sxsw-ia-logoI’m pleased to announce that my panel submission for SXSW interactive 2010 has passed the first stage and is open for voting in the PanelPicker. You’ll need sign in to SXSW or create an account to vote, but it only takes a moment.

    Posts Mortem: Death and Digital Legacy

    If you passed away today, how would your online friends find out? Should logins and passwords be in your will? Has technology changed mourning? Will your digital media stay online forever? Our lives are lived and documented online, it’s time to talk about the implications of death and digital legacy.

    Some of the questions that the panel will seek to discuss are:

    1. If you passed away, how would your online friends be notified?
    2. Should logins and passwords be included in your will?
    3. Would you want your digital presence to remain online forever?
    4. What the policies of the major social networks for profile access by the family of the deceased?
    5. What are the repercussions of the phenomenon of the suicide note as Facebook status?
    6. How has the Internet changed how people come together to mourn?
    7. Will pre-programmed updates from friends who have passed give them digital immortality?
    8. How have recent celebrity deaths brought digital mourning to the mainstream?
    9. If digital profiles truly have inherent value and equity, can they be bequeathed?
    10. What societal shifts will be required to handle ownership of our online footprints?

    In the coming weeks I’ll be addressing some of these questions and seeking feedback. I want to know your personal experience and thoughts on these questions. Have I missed something that you’d like to see discussed? Then, please let me know in the comments.

    My thanks to the ever-clever Ike Pigott for coining “posts mortem” and allowing me to use it in my title. My thanks also to all of those who’ve had conversations with me about different aspects of this topic. Your perspectives enrich the discussion.

    Panel voting ends on September 4th. I appreciate your support and thank you for your vote.


    Some of my colleagues at Technically Women have also submitted panels to SXSW Interactive, outlined in today’s post. Please consider voting for theirs as well:

    Maggie Fox
    Scaling Social Media: Getting Credible Content to Mass Audiences
    News 2.0 – How Old Media Companies Are Inventing New Models

    Rachel Happe
    Building Social Strategies at Fortune 100 Companies

    Jennifer Leggio
    Inherent Dangers of Real-Time Social Networking
    How (Not) to Get Banned on Social Networks!

    Shireen Mitchell
    Is There A Technological Fix for Human Behavior?
    Social Media Women of Color

    And I’m certain that many more of my colleagues and friends on Twitter are on the SXSW PanelPicker. Please feel free to add your session link in the comments.