Does the whole concept of online identity make any sense after its
owner is passed out? Well, of course – as long as we consider authored
content, as it's always been with analogic cultural and artistic
manufacts (such as books). But what about all the medium-is-the-message
or ephemeral chatter that answers questions like what are you doing, or where are you now? All the things that have value
as long as they are immediate and, well… live?
As of lately I have read about several services offering a sort of
trusted repository for passwords and everything – the last one on the Long Now Blog
– and I sure think that it would be correct to put all the credentials
in the hands of the next of kin. But this is just enough to scratch the
surface and take care of the most immediate issue of the problem,
dealing with security: the legitimate heir will take control.
So, the most interesting part is where personal choices about the content are part of the picture: a more thorough and proper excercise in long-term thinking would be to
consider all the services we sign up to in a 100-years-from-now
perspective, and deciding what we want them to look like at that time.
And here is probably where an online service – enabling a painless management of the desired outcomes – would be able to reach a
vantage point if compared to a good old Civil Law Notary.