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Death, Social Networks and Virtual Worlds: A Look Into the Digital Afterlife

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3 Author(s)
James Braman ; Dept. of Comput. & Inf. Sci., Towson Univ., Towson, MD, USA ; Alfreda Dudley ; Giovanni Vincenti

As users increasingly operate in various social networking sites and virtual worlds for online interaction, the prevalence of one's online personal presence grows along with the amount of personal information contained in these environments. As our online identities are infused with our every day "real" lives, the virtual can have consequences far beyond a daily status update, online friends and 3D representations. What happens when our content, data, messages and other creations are no longer in our control after we are gone? The authors of this paper examine issues involving the use of these online identities, after an individual is deceased. Specifically, the authors examine virtual worlds and social networking sites in respect to death, and as a way to memorialize an individual. What content is left behind as part of one's digital "legacy"? The authors discuss their preliminary work and future research directions in the area of the effect of death on social networking and virtual worlds.

Published in:

Software Engineering Research, Management and Applications (SERA), 2011 9th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

10-12 Aug. 2011