Our society has become more and more invested in social media and the techno goodies that come with it. Facebook is the don of social networking, connecting people around the world. To date, the number of active Facebook users totals a whopping 800 million, with more than 70 languages available on the site. In fact, Facebook has topped the lists of the most-visited websites AND the most-searched terms in the US for the last 2 years. Facebook outranks Google and YouTube, and it’s growing faster, too.
Facebook is renowned for being innovative with applications (better known as apps) and they have really gone to hell and back with their new one. If I Die was inspired by Facebook’s Chief Security Officer who announced, in October 2009, that Facebook would ‘memorialise’ the profiles of its deceased users. Once a user is confirmed dead, Facebook keeps his or her wall active for friends and family to keep posting tributes.
That was nothing compared to this.
If I Die allows a Facebook user to prepare their last status update in the form of either a recorded video message or text message. In order to get the ball rolling, you need to follow 3 steps:
- Create your video or text message, either a piece of wisdom, a secret you have kept all your life, a final goodbye to family and friends or even a last “up-yours” to that irritating colleague or boss.
- You need to nominate three or more trustees. A trustee is any close friend or family member on Facebook.
- Lastly, once you have chosen your trusted friends or family, when you die, they will report that you are no longer with us and your message will be unlocked and posted on your wall.
Although death may be the last thing on your mind (it’s a pretty morbid thought) 4000 people are already using the application. By creating this app, Facebook allows its users to plan for the future and to be prepared for the inevitable, death. So, any of you concerned with your final Facebook status can, well, rest easy.
From a moral perspective, however, would this sort of thing not creep your Facebook friends out? Is it not disturbing, that once you are gone, a text or video message pops up on your wall portraying you as very much alive? Would your loved ones want to go through the pain of watching a video of you saying goodye? It’s heartbreaking enough for them to deal with your death, let alone a message from the dead.
In the end, it’s entirely up to the user. That’s why we are blessed with choices. To poke, or not to poke; tag the photo with your drunk friend or not; stalk that cute crush or invite him as a friend; write one last message ‘from the dead’ or rest in peace, the decision is a mouse-click away. Strange, though, that all these choices carry the same weight.