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Remaining Social

Let's reimagine how one's personality can live on through social media, contributing their thoughts and memories as we do today.

Photo of Morgan
13 15

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

Many of us today use social media to portray our interests, thoughts, and feelings to convey who we are to the people in our lives. Identifying a way to use this forum to continue contributing our beliefs and emotions to our loved ones could comfort those near death in knowing their thoughts and memories will live on.

I often see the facebook profile of someone who has passed on serve as a memorial for loved ones to post their feelings towards the deceased. What if the deceased can contribute thoughts, emotions and memories back to their loved ones. We could have blog-like thoughts while alive to be preserved for the time when we can no longer share them. Maybe contribute thoughts on a great day we had and repost a photo or article to share the memory again, using the infrastructure we already have.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Run a test using facebook's "your memories" to post past experiences from a deceased individual's profile to gauge the emotional impact on the living loved ones. This could help define restrictions on what to post, when to post, and frequency to post. Also ask a sample from the general population of their willingness to use a side feature to blog short thought/feelings that would not be posted until after they are deceased- "a will for thoughts" if you will (no pun-intended)

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Brainstorming! The more thoughts the better to both answer questions and ask new ones. What are the major hurdles you see? How do we best test concepts for such an emotional topic? and best replicate the emotional state of those being interviewed?

Tell us about your work experience:

I work in consumer product R&D, with a background in engineering and some design.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

13 comments

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Photo of Shiwen Yi
Team

actually your idea inspires me! right now we actually already had AI chatting robot, they can learn from people's reactions and information from internet then change the character of themselves and have their own personality! How amazing is that!
If we can relize the generalization of AI , we could be able to creat the chatting robot that can learn from these social media pages so they can have the same character with our loved ones and can  imitate their way to reply.
It is going to be exciting!

Photo of Xiang Zhu
Team

Awesome idea. New media makes thought sustainable. I think that in the future maybe there will be some technology that can collect people's thought and voice, then simulates in the computer using 3D MODEL or something like that. For example people can use VR glass or computer to interact a man even though he died. 

Photo of James McBennett
Team

A friend died in the past few months. Was weird when facebook asked me if I wanted to wish him a happy birthday.

Worth watching this poem by Rives on If I rules the internet. https://www.ted.com/talks/rives_controls_the_internet?language=en that mentions receiving an email from the other side, or rather an automated reply, with their name in your inbox which is all you wanted anyway..

Photo of Shauna Curry
Team

Hi Morgan,
Firstly, thank you for such a though provoking post. As I was reading through you posts and peoples comments I still it continuously fascinating  that for such a widespread issue - that effects a huge amount of people - how little has been done to help people deal with death through social media.

 Your idea of a "will for thoughts" was exactly what I was trying to get to in my post Social Media and Death (as mentioned in comment below). So thank you.

I too also think it is important to gauge people's  emotional reactions to the death of their family or friend. But I definitely that Facebook before posting "your memories" must ask permission to do so and should  also consider asking people to fill out a questionnaire of their preferences about how they would like to remember the deceased individual on Facebook. They could even consider having a discussion page linked to the memorialised account so people could discuss this - though like most things on social media this would need to be regulated.  

Photo of Becky
Team

I think I heard about something like this at a conference I went to in the UK recently...
Will look. 

Found it. Dead Social is the organisation. 
Website here:
http://deadsocial.org 

I think Facebook already has some legacy features - but don't know very much about them as yet. 

Becky

Photo of Mai Anh Nguyen
Team

Hi Becky, 
Facebook now allows account users to either delete, memorialise the account or add a legacy contact when they die.
Family member can request for memorialisation if they can verify they relationship with the deceased.
A legacy contact can:
- Write a pinned post for your profile (ex: to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service)
- Respond to new friend requests (ex: old friends or family members who weren't yet on Facebook)
- Update your profile picture and cover photo
But they can't:
- Log into your account
- Remove or change past posts, photos and other things shared on your Timeline
- Read messages you've sent to other friends
- Remove any of your friends

https://www.facebook.com/help/1506822589577997/

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Thanks for the great highlights Becky and Mai! Morgan, here are a couple additional posts from our Inspiration phase that touched upon the role of social media in the end-of-life conversation: Social Media and Death and C:/Desktop/Documents/Me/MyDeath 

Photo of Morgan
Team

Thank you guys for the builds/input! I love the examples of what's currently out there and I agree, there would need to be very well-thought out timing and content to understand and ensure a healthy progression through the grieving process rather than setbacks. Also, acknowledgement that the process is different for everyone through preference options would be crucial. 

Photo of Sue Kemple
Team

This is an interesting concept. From some of the research we've done and feedback we've gotten about, say, sending flowers or wine to loved ones after one's passing, we've discovered people either love that concept, or they are very much freaked out by it! As Chiara and Louis point out here, they wonder how this might affect people emotionally and psychologically, or if it might make it harder for people to let go of the ones they've lost. It might be helpful to consider a feature where surviving loved ones "opt-in" to viewing a site or being part of such a service, rather than making it widely public. Great post - thanks for the contribution!

Photo of Chiara Pineschi
Team

Hello Morgan,
I like this idea. I think I would highly appreciate to read/hear some words from my loved ones, after they have passed. However, I wonder in which ways this would affect me emotionally and psychologically. I think the planning "times" of when to post need to be thought about carefully. Besides, maybe some more personal messages could also be added: something addressed to specific persons in particular, which could remain private. Thanks for your contribution!

Photo of Louis Yi
Team

I think this is an interesting concept. Personality I would think that yes, messages and comforting thoughts after death may help the grieving process, however what are the implication of trying to enumerate person's emotions after they have already deceased? For some people this may help but would it also make it harder to let go/come to terms for others? I definitely enjoyed reading the post though!  

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Morgan, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.