Millions of Brits plan to ‘live forever’ – by keeping their social media profiles alive after they die, according to a new study.
Researchers discovered 75 per cent of adults in Yorkshire would like friends or family to keep their social media accounts active after they have shuffled off this mortal coil.
But rather than the posthumous profiles acting as a sombre memorial for loved ones to grieve over, 55 per cent said it would help family feel close to them when they’re gone, and 65 per cent said they hoped it would help their nearest and dearest remember happier times.
A further 26 per cent said they planned to leave a self-penned obit or even a ‘final cut’ video which would be available for friends and family to download and play when they feel ready.
Asked what would make them leave a video or audio message, 73 per cent said they would do it so they could tell family and friends how much they loved them, while 38 percent said they would leave a funny message to give loved ones a laugh.
A further 23 per cent said it would allow them to have final word and a vengeful 8 per cent said it would allow them to tell certain people what they really thought of them.
Nick Rhodes, a Wills and Probate solicitor and spokesperson for Blacks Solicitors, which carried out the research, said: “It is interesting to see in a social media driven world that more and more people are wanting their profiles to be kept alive even after their death.
“The law has not really kept pace with advances in social media and the ownership of such sites after death and it would be useful if further clarification could be provided. Certainly nowadays, it is important when taking Will instructions that we not only consider clients’ wishes for more traditional assets such as property and bank accounts but also wishes with regards to digital assets and to make sure these are correctly recorded.”
Asked if they would consider using software that allowed their social media accounts to continue to post things such as birthday greetings and messages to family after they were dead, 41 per cent said yes they would, while 78 per cent said it would be too weird.
A further 81 per cent said it would prevent their loved ones from moving on with their lives.
And 61 per cent of those surveyed thought in the future it would be possible to build a virtual you after your death - from information gathered from the internet and from social media sites.
A staggering 49 per cent said they knew someone who had passed away but still had a social media account online.
And when it came to who we would trust to manage our online affairs when we were no longer here, our partners were deemed to be the most reliable and trustworthy.
However the research also revealed who we wouldn’t want to be in charge of our online legacy, with work colleagues coming top (32 per cent) followed by the mother in law (23 per cent) and father in law (17 per cent).
Facebook emerged as the social media platform we would most like to keep active (49 per cent), followed by Instagram (21 per cent) and Twitter (18 per cent)
Jenny Wagstaff, founder of WomenOnlyConnected.com, an online social and business network for women, said: “At 67 I hope to be around a little longer, but I would like to leave a personal message for friends and family on my social networks when I die. I’d want to thank them for their friendship, remind them that life is short and to not waste a minute of it.”