This Week in Tech
Episode 284: ¿Dónde está Leo's Grave?
"I love this! I love this!" -Leo Laporte
Episode 394: Math Has Sold Out
"Like everything else, this is another example of how William Gibson predicted exactly what would happen." -Mike Elgan
The Quest for Cyberimmortality
"It's an interesting first real stab at cyberimmortality." -Robert Lamb
Dead Shwood, Live Hitler
"I think Afterlyfe.me is a very, very, very intriguing, interesting, thought-provoking art project." -Justin Robert Young
A Skosh More Room
"That is wild!" -Gina Trapani
TechStuff Conjures Up Brian Brushwood
"Personally, I love it. I mean, I just love the idea of someone reading a tweet and saying, 'Jonathan's been dead for 20 years and he's still slamming the iPad.'" -Jonathan Strickland
Blijf twitteren na je dood met DeadSocial
"De bedoeling is dat Afterlyfe.me ook voor het grote publiek beschikbaar wordt. Mensen die zich aanmelden via de site krijgen een e-mail zodra de dienst in de lucht is."
Tweeting When You're Dead, Seriously.
"With AfterLyfe.me you can literally 'tweet from the grave' if you wanted. When you die this system (proposed) will just takeover your Social Networking accounts...
Sounds like something you're interested in? Not me. When I’m dead I’m dead. Leave me there please." -John Saddington
How Stuff Works Chronicles Brian Brushwood's Bizarre Future As A Virtual Ghost
"The Bizarre Magician has set into motion a new site entitled AfterLyfe.me whereby his last year of tweets will be relived for eternity should he not activate a kill switch each year on his birthday.
In short, once he dies he lives forever in a social media loop."
That's Interesting, Internet: Afterlyfe Mines Your Past, Creates Digital Ghost After Death
"The idea reads like one of many morbidly curious endeavors that we've stumbled upon whilst traveling the Internets. But that was long ago. We're older now. We can see how this project has a foot in the dark humor/nerd conversation circles."
I'm starting a new side project, and I honestly can't decide if it's funny, morbid, thought-provoking or just plain weird. It's a performance art project that will take me decades to complete, and I'll never get to see the results. It's going to affect every single person who follows me online in unpredictable and surprising ways, and hopefully spark some lively debate.
With the help of web guru Patrick Delahanty, today we began setting up Afterlyfe.me. I'm currently in the process of giving the website all of my credentials and passwords for my social media websites (currently twitter and facebook, though we'll see what new startups make the cut in the future). And starting on my upcoming birthday (January 17th), we're going to activate a dead-man's switch on the site.
From that point on, every birthday for the rest of my life, I'll need to check in to let Afterlyfe know that I'm still alive and kicking (if I'm smart, I'll also make sure the site hits me up with email reminders every year as well). Once I stop checking in, Afterlyfe will assume I've kicked the bucket, and go into action, taking control of my facebook and twitter pages.
From that point on, Afterlyfe will use all my previous tweets and facebook updates to recreate a digital simulacrum of my life. The goal is to make me the world's first virtual ghost.
For starters, we're going to keep it simple: the default settings will be that the moment I die, Afterlyfe will make an exact copy of my last year in tweets, and release them at the exact times they were originally posted, year after year. Every year, followers will see me complain about taxes come mid April. You'll get my same Christmas tweets. Happy birthday wishes I made in the past will continue to arrive, year after year, right on schedule.
Even if that's all the site does, that's good enough for me... After all, what are ghosts supposed to be but people who don't know that they're dead? Wandering down the same halls, doing the same things they did when they were alive. Afterlyfe would create the digital echoes of my thousands of tweets and status updates for decades to come.
If we're able to get fancy, I'd like to go back and favorite some of my best tweets. Little nuggets that I'm particularly fond of could automatically be sprinkled in among the tedium in the echoes. That way I can bring a smile or thought even from beyond the grave. That'd be cool.
So... why do this? Isn't it tacky and morbid? Probably. But there's so many services that already exist that nuke all your online data after your demise. That makes sense, I suppose, but it just seems like such a waste. I mean, we pour so much of our personality into our updates, and so much of them get forgotten over time... We all make jokes about haunting our friends if we meet an untimely demise, but now you can actually do it.
Is this insane? Silly? Creepy? I'd love to get your thoughts, as I honestly don't know myself... that's sorta the whole point of this experiment.
PS - if you're nutty enough to want to join me on this bizarre adventure, you can sign up at afterlyfe.me and we'll notify you when the service is fully functional.