Today’s lunchtime news chum brings together a collection of articles dealing with the end of things: the end of life, the end of relationships, and the end of your connection to social media:
- And When I Die… And When I’m Dead, Dead and Gone… A big, unspecified, legal morass is what happens to all of your social media accounts when you die. Google is attempting to be proactive regarding this, and has rolled out what they call an “Inactive Policy Manager” — essentially a “dead man’s switch” that triggers when your account becomes inactive. After a set period, you can tell it to either send email to someone you designate and/or delete all your accounts. Specifically, it can send your data from many Google services to your digital heirs, alert your contacts, delete the accounts, or do all or none of the above. It affects Blogger, Contacts/Circles (in Google+) Drive, Gmail, Google+ profiles, Pages and Streams, Picasa albums, Google Voice, and YouTube. It can also serves as a useful self-destruct button–that is, you can have your account auto-destruct after trying to reach you using other e-mail addresses and by text message.
- Wipin’ Away the Ex. Sometimes it’s not you, it’s your ex-whatever. You’re tired of them, and don’t want to see them anymore. But there are traces of them all over your Facebook. What do you do? The answer is KillSwitch, an application that will delete all digital traces of your ex from your Facebook. As the LA Times describes it, the app bills itself as a fast and efficient way to make breakups less agonizing by “seamlessly and discreetly removing all traces of your ex from your Facebook timeline.” Without notifying the ex that he or she is being digitally deleted, the app wipes out traces of the person from your Facebook timeline. It also works for deleting other kinds of Facebook relationships, including friends, co-workers, and former in-laws. Currently, KillSwitch requires that you still be friends with the person you want to erase. They’re working on a way to use the app even after “defriending” the person, as well as a “breakup severity switch” for those more amicable breakups. As an aside and appropos of breakups, here’s a wonderful letter that imagines Aladdin and Jasmine, 30 years later.
- Getting Rid of the Social Connection. One thing that it is difficult to do is sever your ties with your social network. The New York Times has a nice article today going over all the ways to do it. What they don’t discuss is how these networks make it very sticky — all your friends are there, and so the effort of establishing a new presence is extremely difficult. This is why they push deactivation, as opposed to pure deletion.
Music: The Captain and the Kid (Elton John): “Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way”