In today's world of blogs, google drive, instagram, and facebook, there is very little information about many peoples' daily lives that is not shared. If facebook is still around 100 years from now, what will happen to the accounts that were created today? Or for that matter, what happens to our facebook accounts after we die? Facebook has already thought of this, and there is an ability for you to report to Facebook that a user has died. When someone dies, if you can reasonably prove that they are dead, Facebook will "memorialize" the page, which freezes it and leaves it like a digital time capsule. It's unclear what the retention period for accounts like this are. If Facebook sees marketing value in keeping something like this around, your great-grandchildren may be able to go back in time, and see your facebook page from today. Even if Facebook doesn't retain your data indefinitely, there's a chance that some post you make will wind up in, or squirreled away by a group like Archive Team.

Facebook isn't the only organization that has a death policy. Deep in your Google settings you can configure an "inactive account manager." If Google doesn't detect activity from your account in X months (i.e., you're dead), then you can configure it to perform certain behaviors, such as granting another google user temporary full access to your accounts, and even send a digital message from beyond the grave.

This dystopic hellscape of a post-privacy society has an interesting side-effect: it makes anthropologists' jobs much easier. Anthropologists currently have very little information about the daily lives of people, even those who kept diaries, because the things that people write about in long-form diary entries have very little information about the commonplace. Even photograps or drawing of streets can provide more information than the ramblings of a diary.

If facebook retains data from old accounts for a long time, will it eventually open up accounts hundreds of years later? Should it? The potential for that amount of data could make history much less of a guessing game. Broad information about major events will be much easier with things like Wikipedia existing, but potentially, samples of ancient social media profiles could provide the full picture of what society is like.

What do you think? How would you feel about your social media profile being used in this way?