What is a digital legacy?

“What is a digital legacy and how can I make plans for it”

A digital legacy is the digital information that is available about someone following their death. Someone’s digital legacy is often shaped by interactions the person made and information that they created before they died. This might include their social media profiles, online conversations, photos, videos, gaming profiles and their website or blog. 

Someone’s digital legacy can also be informed by content that is created or co-created by others. This may include interactions that have occurred on someone else’s social media wall or stream. Someone’s digital legacy might also informed by what others have posted online about the person in a newspaper, blog or external website. A digital legacy can be altered, edited and changed before, during or after someone’s death.

Do you understand the term ‘Digital Legacy’?

The Digital Legacy Association’s annual survey explores society’s attitudes towards death, bereavement, technology and the internet. Our research indicates that the awareness around the term ‘digital legacy’ has increased significantly over the last few years.  

The Digital Legacy Association believe that only once someone understands the value of their own digital legacy will they be motivated to make suitable plans for it.

Digital legacy Planning

There are a number of ways in which we can make plans for our digital legacy and the digital assets that are contained within online accounts and digital devices. This might include granting access to devices (computers, mobile phones etc) to one or more trusted person. Granting access might help ensure that photos, videos and important files remain accessible and are not locked behind a password in perpetuity.

Digital death survey - password for computer

Plans for photos and videos that saved ‘in the cloud’ on social media and other online accounts can also be made. Planning might involve downloading a copy of your uploaded media and passing on a backup of the media to someone you trust. It may also involve curating your favourite media, printing a selection of photos, documenting your wishes within a social media will and granting account access to a third party.

Digital Death Survey - Planned for social media accounts

Making plans for your online accounts to help safeguard your digital legacy. Most of these tasks cannot be carried out by a third party. You own the accounts and often will own the photos, videos, songs, money and credit held within them. If suitable plans are not made these assets might be lost.

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