A Dark Side of Social Media

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Last week my brother died unexpectedly. My sister-in-law didn't know logins and passwords for their accounts online, so couldn't see what bills were paid and what owing. We were able to find some; her son will probably have to help her figure out others.

On the plane home I was thinking about several writers who have died or become incapacitated. Their facebook pages are still up. I'm guessing that means no one in their family has access. Or family members, especially in the case of someone who is single, may not even be aware of the social media sites where their loved one was involved.

So this is my challenge to all of us creative people. Make sure someone somewhere has a list of the social media you are involved in. The list should include login information and passwords for each site. It should mention which services you are paying for and which are free.

For example, I pay for my website hosting (monthly), my domain name (annually) and ad-free yahoo mail (annually). These automatically come out of my writing business checking account, which my husband is a signer on. I also have a writing PayPal account which is tied to my checking. I have free accounts: facebook, gmail, google+, twitter, linked in. A number of them send notices to my email. If I'm using all these when I inevitably die, I want my husband or daughters to be able to cancel or change, whichever is appropriate.

As I'm typing this, I'm thinking a list of the listserves I participate in would be helpful as well. For those, the email used would be appropriate to note. And what about physical magazines or memberships in organizations? Those could be recorded too.

I know these things would be low priorities for my loved ones, but eventually, when they got to them, how much nicer to have the information than to keep having notices trickle in.

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