Saturday, May 21, 2016

Has Facebook Become Curator of The World’s Memories?

As I wrote in my last post, Ross and I have been experimenting with podcasting on YouTube.  I explained there were three reasons I wanted to explore this form of creativity and expression.

In case you missed that post or have by now forgotten, I mentioned two of the reasons and promised to reveal the number one reason in another post.
To review:
Number Three: it's a challenge for us, as seniors,  to learn a new technology.  I have learned so much in the last five weeks.
Reason Number Two: for our podcast venture is it's something we are doing together.   Although we are retired and spend pretty much 24/7 in each other's company, most times we are not actually interacting.  Doing the podcast, we are definitely interacting.

Reason number one is the most important one for me.   Let me tell you why. 

I have two precious videos.  One is of my mother, the other is of my son and his son.  

When I watch each of those videos, as I often do, not only am I able to see two of the people I painfully miss so much, but I can see them alive, moving, talking, smiling, hearing them speak.  Being able to hear their voices and their laughter fills up a hole in my heart, at least for that little while.

So, I thought it might be something that my children, grandchildren or even great-grandchildren might also cherish. 
But actually, it's not only our future generations.  No not only for them.  I thought about Ross and me.   Perhaps one day there might be a time when we might not be as cognizant of our surroundings or we might get a little forgetful.  Maybe watching ourselves as we once were might jog a bit of memory and bring about a glimmer of recognition and then even a little smile.

The more I thought about it, though, I started to think about where these videos are stored.  
It's not like it was years ago.  There is no 8mm film in tin canisters or even VHS tapes.
Some of the videos, like the one of my mother and son are stored on my computer.  Most of the others have been uploaded onto YouTube or FaceBook. 

So, then, this gesture I was making of preserving our memories for our loved ones or each other, might not be accessible to them after all.  

If you are on Facebook, which I'm pretty sure most of us are, each day you log into Facebook for the first time you most likely get this message:

I don't know about you, but I usually go "ahh, or wow".  
Yes, I have come to depend on Facebook to preserve my memories and then recall them for me.

But, what about after Ross or I pass away?   
Facebook does have something called "Memorializing An Account".

Here's what I found under FB's Help:

Memorializing the account:
Memorialized accounts are a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away. Memorializing an account also helps keep it secure by preventing anyone from logging into it.
If Facebook is made aware that a person has passed away, it's our policy to memorialize the account. Learn more about what happens to a memorialized account.
Please keep in mind that we can't provide login information for someone else's account even under these circumstances. It's always against Facebook's policies to log into another person's account.
To report a profile to be memorialized, please contact us.
Removing the account:
Verified immediate family members may request the removal of a loved one’s account from Facebook.

What is a legacy contact?
A legacy contact is someone you choose to look after your account if it's memorialized. Once your account is memorialized, your legacy contact will have the option to do things like:
                Write a pinned post for your profile (ex: to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service)
                Respond to new friend requests (ex: old friends or family members who weren't yet on Facebook)
                Update your profile picture and cover photo
You also have the option to allow your legacy contact to download a copy of what you've shared on Facebook, and we may add additional capabilities for legacy contacts in the future.
Your legacy contact can't:
                Log into your account
                Remove or change past posts, photos and other things shared on your Timeline
                Read messages you've sent to other friends
                Remove any of your friends
Learn more about memorialization and how to add a legacy contact to your account.
If you're a legacy contact, learn how to manage a memorialized profile.
Note: You must be 18 or older to select a legacy contact.

To find out more about this go to the top of your FB page, along the blue bar, pull down on the arrow next to the Lock icon and select "Help".  Search for "Memorializing". 

 Google also has a feature called "Inactive Account Manager"

After my first year of blogging, I used a website called "Blog2Print" to download all of my postings from the first year and had them bound into a book. 

The point is there are options, but I wonder how many of us think about leaving passwords to our devices or social media accounts in a secure place for our loved ones to have access to.

But at the end of the day or more appropriately for this post, at the end of my life, after I have made sure that my memories will be accessible,  I will continue to post on social media, write my blog, and record our podcast.

Oh, and in case you missed episode 5 of Sundays with Lynda and Ross, here is a little taste:


  1. I did not know this about Facebook. That is good to know. In our recent move I found VHS tapes from the kids growing up. I passed them on to son who was interested in them and had a friend with still a VHS player. You are right, the technology we have now may not be available in the years ahead to view things on. Wise how you are trying to preserve your memories.


    1. The reason I know about memorializing on Facebook is because of Joe. But it did give me pause to think about the whole thing.

  2. That is so interesting about Facebook accounts. I actually have several friends who I kept in contact with on Facebook but who have now passed on. This is good to know.

    @Kathleen01930 Blog

    1. Yes, something that most of us don’t realize or think about.

  3. I have one small clip of my husband singing to us. How I wish I had video-taped more of him. And I should be doing it with the kids too! Because you just never know, do you? I have been enjoying your Sundays with Ross and Lynda You two are so cute interacting!!

    1. I know what you mean. I wish I had more of my parents and my son.
      Thank you! I’m glad you are enjoying our podcasts. We are having fun!

  4. I did not know this about Facebook either!! Thank you so much :)

  5. I went to three Facebook pages of people I knew, who died in the last couple of years. One is gone (I assume "memorialized") two are still up and I saw people occasionally posting tributes (on a birthday, a "miss you today", etc. including at least one prompted by a "memory" being put on their timeline.) I think Facebook has already become the curator of people's memories. But, the Internet may not be with us forever. At the rate technology changes, the Internet might not even be with us, in its current form, by the time our children or grandchildren are our age. A thoughtful post.

    1. It's what I wonder about. What will be the next way of communicating? Brain chips?

  6. It was so good seeing you and Ross - I had no idea you were doing these podcasts so a complete surprise! Also so typical of a man to just stand up and go off when you've got everything ready to do something important - then again capturing it on film is a true slice of life so you ought to keep it!! Lovely idea making videos for the future - I was given the photo album my great aunt kept of photos taken of my children she had been sent and some of them I don't have and it was lovely seeing them again as tiny babies held by people no longer with us :)
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

    1. Ross and I are having a lot of fun with the podcasts. I really have to figure out how to keep them safely saved.
      It is so nice that you have the photo album from your great aunt. Very precious.

  7. I have an old VHS tape that I need to get converted to dvd. It's old so not sure if is still in good enough shape. This made me remember I need to do that yet. It has family members that have passed on.

    1. I am sorry to say that I lost in a move a bunch of old family home movies. I do have a dvd that was converted from an old VHS tape. It’s wonderful to watch.

  8. I have never seen the memories message on Facebook. Yes, never. I've always wondered where those "X years ago" posts came from. I figured the popped up somehow, but I didn't know how.

    I probably don't get the messages because I never post anything to Facebook.

    I did know about memorializing accounts. Never looked into how it works, though.

    1. Yes, you have to be a regular poster on FB to have the memories pop up.

  9. Yes, I do look toward Face Book as a record of my experiences. That is why I am selective about posting. I am interested in having my blogging posts printed in book form. I am going to look into the site you mentioned. Thanks.