Web Graveyard

Very few people I know blog about death. It is not a pleasant subject, and essentially, one reads blogs to be happy. But let’s face it, death is very real. Though cyberspace was once known as the virtual world, it is becoming increasingly real, and the overlap between online and offline is getting increasingly complex.

As bloggers, gamers, sellers, artists, online community participants – we are increasingly living very real online roles. We have our own avatars. Our own bookshelves. Our Facebook personae. Our LinkedIn profiles.

So what happens when we die? Death is sudden and unexpected for most people. What happens to their blogger friends? How do their Facebook or Orkut friends know? What about items they have put up on sale on eBay? What if they’re part of an open-source development community and are actively contributing to projects?

Don’t take this lightly. Sudden disappearance in the virtual world can cause a great deal of concern and have a wider impact than one may suspect. Our social world and legal systems take care of the eventualities in our offline life, but what about our online life when we really go offline? Who are the legal heirs of the copyrights to our creative digital content that we so meticulously safeguard?

CNET’s Technically Incorrect blog post inspired this post. It describes two website services that send out emails you’ve composed after you die. Deathswitch has a free account option with one recipient and no attachments. With a tagline of “Bridging Mortality”, it encourages you not to take your secrets to the grave. SlightlyMorbid does not have a free account, but has a “Free Trial”. 🙂

Startup Concept – WebGraveyard

How about WebGraveyard.com? When fully functional and out of beta, Web Graveyard can offer:

  • My GraveSpace – automatically imported social networking profiles like Facebook and MySpace Cemetery
  • My Memoirs – a diary of your blogs on Blogger/Wordpress
  • My Graveiti – comments on your blog and by visitors to your eGrave
  • My YouTomb – the videos you’ve uploaded to YouTube
  • My Gallery – automatically imports your Picasa web albums, Flickr photos, etc.
  • My GraveRoll – links to eGraves of your friends
  • My Graveatar – automatically imported Gravatar
  • GrMail – automated email reminders of significant events in your lifetime like anniversaries

Premium Services

  • Users can import your birthdays and anniversaries into their Google Calendar or Outlook
  • High-resolution gallery of Tombstones
  • Templates for great Epitaphs
  • Users can drag and drop flowers on your eGrave from an abundant gallery of beautiful arrangements
  • GPod – automatically import and create a replica of your iPod
  • Your favorite last.fm playlist plays in the background when visiting your eGrave

Any takers for funding this startup? Any more ideas how it can be made more ‘user-friendly and productive’?

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  • Mahendra:

    What a great idea! 🙂

    It is a good thing we die before finding out exactly how popular or unpopular we are. Imagine if _nobody_ subscribes to one’s ‘deathfeed’! Or nobody turns up at the funeral/ wake/ 4th day/ 13th day etc… 😉

    PS: How about adding a function MyWill?

  • I am all for My memoirs, My Graveiti, My YouTomb and GrMail.

    This is a great service and I sincerely hope someone wud come up with it in my lifetime, considering the number of times my blogs have had near-death experiences ensuing panic 😛

  • Amazing, never knew these things are done but frankly makes me feel a little creepy. Shhhivvvvvvvvvvvvver.

  • I like this! I’m glad to know that I’m not weird, I’ve already planned for such eventuality! 😀 For the blog, I even have a post ready as draft, and my friend knows how to publish it. Oh, I like Shefaly’s idea about MyWill! 😉

  • Mahendra: I posted this on Twitter. You raise a super valid point and recently someone in my college in Cambridge died and I sent a note to the college to enable them to inform LinkedIn about it.

  • Wow
    good ur back to blogging ,
    To think of it how many people make a will?
    Maybe its because death seems to be a scary topic or that people really dont sit and ponder about it long enough.
    this is a rather interesting topic,and funny this is the first post i read in a long time on ur blog.. that too when i had put ur site in my blog graveyard (hidden links) as u has stopped blogging a while ago.

  • Prax:

    I was actually talking about India too. My comment does not say anything about the UK. 🙂

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