Friday, February 13, 2015

Facebook sees dead people… begins to help ... is it enough?

Facebook has announced what it calls Legacy Contacts - people who can manage your Facebook after you die
Three cheers for Facebook for beginning to address the issue of death and our online presences. 

This week Facebook announced it will begin allowing you to designate someone — whom it calls a "legacy contact" — to manage parts of your Facebook accounts posthumously.

Facebook is the second major online business to allow for designating digital executors (Google allowed this starting in 2013).

According to a Wall Street Journal story (Facebook Heir? Time to Choose Who Manages Your Account When You Die) Facebook legacy contacts will be able to manage accounts in a way that can turn the deceased person’s Facebook page into a kind of digital gravestone.

The story says: "Legacy contacts can write a post to display at the top of their friend’s memorialized profile page, change the friend’s profile picture, and even respond to new friend requests on behalf of the deceased."

But has Facebook gone far enough to help those of us left behind?

Attorney Scott L. Malouf, of Rochester, N.Y. helps other attorneys use social media and businesses minimize the legal risks of social media use, and he thinks not.

A "Legacy Contact won’t be able to remove posts or photos that a deceased user might want taken down posthumously," he says by way of example.

"Similarly, the legacy download does not include security or settings information which might be useful in tracking down other online accounts that an executor needs to access."

And what of user incapacity and accounts requiring immediate and ongoing access?

Malouf asks what would happen, for example, if a business owner were in a serious car accident and wanted a trusted staffer to have immediate access to relevant email, business records, collaboration and project management services, and social accounts.

"The introduction of the legacy contact feature is a great first step," Malouf says, "But it can’t be seen as a complete solution to deceased or incapacitated users."

How to set up a ‘Legacy Contact’

Of course having a legacy contact is only possible if you, the Facebook page owner, designate someone. So how do you do that?
  • Open Facebook. Click Settings (pull-down menu top right) and then Security (on the left side)
  • “Legacy Contact” will be an option at the bottom of the Security page
  • You will be asked to select someone you trust 
  • You will then be asked if you’d like to now send them a message telling them why you chose them or selecting the option to do this later
  • You can also check the option to delete the account upon your death (see image)
What the Facebook Legacy Contact page looks like
So, what do you think? Do Facebook’s new settings allowing the appointment of a legacy contact go far enough? What more would you like to see the social network offer?

Other relevant reads:
From Gigaom: New Facebook tool masks tech industry’s digital death fight
From Scott Malouf, attorney: Social Media Law: Coffins don’t have Wi-Fi: your digital assets in death

Sunday, February 1, 2015

UPDATED: 12 Reasons To Not Follow Someone On Twitter

Guidelines for Twitter following
Social media, in some quarters, has this unwritten expectation: If I follow you, you should follow me back. But this ignores any number of common sense reasons to not connect on a social platform. 

For example, on Twitter I have roughly 12 reasons I won’t follow or follow back another Twitter account. (This is an updated list from one I blogged about in 2013.) I won’t follow you if … 

1. You don’t have a Twitter bio: There may be a good reason, but I can’t imagine what it is. It takes 30 seconds to say something about who you are. The same thing goes if you don’t have a geographic location. It does not need to be specific: city and state or city and country will do just fine. Of course, if you have something to hide … that too is reason enough not to follow you. 

2. You don’t have an avatar: The generic "egg" icon just tells the world you haven’t made the time to get a small picture or symbol out there … or, again, maybe you have something to hide. 

3. Your account is locked: You may have good reasons to lock your account (or, again, maybe you have something to hide), but how am I supposed to keep track of whose content I can retweet and whose I can’t? If you want to be that private why are you on Twitter? 

4. You have been on Twitter for less than a month: Unless there’s a history of activity I suspect all Twitter accounts to have a.) hidden agendas or b.) be the accounts of people not fully committed to being part of the Twitter community … yet. This might be hard on newbies, but I know of too many newbies who set up an account, tweet a few times and then go silent. 

5. You don’t tweet regularly: You don’t have to tweet every day, but if you’re only tweeting once or twice a week (or less) the chances are I will miss your tweets and we really won’t interact at all.  

6. You have nothing to say or share: We have all seen the accounts where people build large follower numbers and in three months on Twitter have only tweeted a few dozen times to let the world know "It’s raining here now" or "Just made a killer burger." Is this adding value for anyone? 

7. You follow way more people than follow you: You may just be desperate to build a large online following. You may have even purchased followers. Either way you concern me. 

8. Your profile and tweets reveal you are mostly on Twitter to sell: I get stuff pushed on me in plenty of other ways. I don’t need Twitter to feel like a selling channel. 

9. Your tweets are all about that one axe to grind: You may be passionate about your cause, but if it’s not something I feel strongly about don’t expect me to follow back. 

10. Your tweet history is full of self-promotional words or links: If your tweets are full of "I" statements and the things "you" want to sell or promote, then "you" clearly missed the memo that Twitter is supposed to be a social medium. "You" don’t need me to follow "you." All "you" really need is a mirror so you can admire the view. See Commandment No. 1 in 10 Commandments for Social Media

11. You are promoting porn, gambling or other vices: ‘Nuff said. If I want this stuff I’m pretty sure I can find it on my own. 

12. You are a business and only ever tweet about the business: As much as you love your business and think everybody else should too, I’m sorry I just don’t care. If your business doesn’t have a human face I’m outta here. Having said that, I will admit to connecting with social causes and the organizations that support them. That at least seems more in the spirit of social media. 

So, what do you think? Did I miss any reasons you have for not following or not following back on Twitter? 

Related posts: 
6 Reasons to Finally Join Twitter 
Twitter 101 Day 1: Why are you on Twitter? 
Twitter 101 Day 2: How will you use Twitter? 
Twitter 101 Day 3: Who will you be on Twitter?