Digital Deletion

Digital deletion is a strange thing.  And a new thing.

My Nanna passed away recently as I’ve said.  She was a tech savvy Nanna, which rocks.  She was all about the text messaging, emailing, scanning photos and using technology to stay in contact and learn new things.  I’ve loved this part of our relationship.  Given that she lived interstate from me my whole life, it was nice to have internet contact with her over the last few years.

The new thing that is weird was helping my mum digitally delete her.

We deactivated her email, closed her internet account, shut down her Skype account, etc.

Now I have her contact details in my phone etc., and it feels weird to delete them.  I know it’s illogical to feel weird about deleting her from my phone because it’s not her.  It doesn’t reflect at all on my relationship with her, or how I feel about her, but it’s still odd.

Pressing the delete button is an extra step in my head.

Digital deletion is a new issue that plagues me.

What does this mean for Facebook or Twitter?  I’m still Facebook friends with someone who died in 2008.  I can’t delete him.  I know it means nothing, but it’s weird.  There is a psychological aspect of digital deletion that no one is taught to deal with.

I’ve also been thinking this last week that if anything happened to me I’d exist digitally forever.  No one knows my passwords, so I’d cease to update, but still exist.  That weirds me out.

I also don’t want to cease to exist digitally, but I’d want everyone to know that I’m not around anymore.  I want to leave my passwords to someone.  Is this something we need to include in our wills now?  I think I’d like to.

I still haven’t deleted my Nanna from my contacts, but I feel that I ought to at some point.  I just don’t know when.


4 Replies to “Digital Deletion”

  1. Some great questions Megan. A co-worker of mine died a while back and I couldn’t bring myself to delete him as my friend on facebook cos it felt like I was saying ‘I’m not your friend anymore.’ It was weird seeing people posting stuff to his wall for weeks onwards. After reading this I decided to go into my facebook friends list and take the step of removing him…and he wasn’t listed there anymore, I assume his family did something about it as part of them moving on.

  2. A similar sort of legal question was posed when it comes to the legal holding of digital information. What happens for instance to one’s digital music collection with regards something like iTunes etc. At the moment Apple legally claims to own all of it, but what if the person wanted to move that claim?

    It’s still all a legal and digital black hole.

  3. I still have my best friend, who passed away in 2010 as the top contact in my favourites list. I just can’t bring myself to delete her, or even move her from that spot.

    What really hurt though was her ex getting control of her Facebook account, deleting me as a friend, and then blocking me. All the shared memories that were only on her account are now just distant memories.

    In a sense, it’s like someone is trying to erase me too, or a kind of personal attack.

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