There’s no good way to find out someone you love died. My heart goes out to this mother, who learned of her son’s death via Facebook.
I heard about this story via the Digital Death forum, which acts as a kind of clearing house for the burgeoning business of online legacy. One of the group’s members alerted us to a service – alive.io – that his company, Life Ensured, created to counteract cases such as these. Basically once it thinks it’s confirmed your death (using a series of protocols you predetermine and authorize), it becomes the bearer of bad news.
I realize I haven’t done any serious blogging about the entrepreneurship around digital death, mostly because I feel like it’s being written about thoughtfully elsewhere; but also because my book is satire. And even though the subject has an absurdist angle (as does the whole enterprise of life, if you stop and think about it), I actually think these questions deserve to be taken seriously.
Still, I think a longer post on the topic of technological thanatology is in order… Stay tuned.