Do you want to live on when you die?

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

I attended the Dead, Dying and Undead Conference last week where I gave a paper on writing death. Other people gave papers on vampires, Nurses who kill: nazi nurses, first world war Australian nurses the Bluebirds, good deaths, imaging death and Jack the Ripper. All the papers I attended were fascinating even though at times somewhat confronting.

From Associate Professor Piatti-Farnell, a leading expert on vampires having published numerous books on vampires the latest The vampire in Contemporary Popular Literature available from Routledge, I learnt the genetic structure of vampires and their relationship with humans. How they form, live and die and how they reflect our own morality and mortality.

Dr Hughes gave an indepth overview of research into the field of immortality. It is perhaps getting closer but the one example of a person who believed he had conquered it saw the man taking 450 pills per day. I think I’d prefer to be dead. Imagine your entire life would be revolving around swigging the next lot down.

The paper given by Professor Donna Lee Brien had me gob smacked. I had no idea such web sites were out there. Her paper was on your online presence when you died and ways of setting up someone who could administer your presence. (It is next to impossible to remove yourself from sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others unless you are well prepared ahead of your demise. This wasn’t what surprised me though.


This is the logo of LivesOn. A site that will continue to make your tweets for you after you are gone. The problem, however, is that you probably will spend what remains of your life setting it up, and teaching it to respond as you would to current affairs, television programmes, political events and anything else you may be in the habit of tweeting about.

Another site will post (you write them first) to Facebook for you up to a maximum of 999 years after your death. Naturally you pay a fair amount for the service but I want to know do you get a refund if Facebook doesn’t survive that long.

There is another site that will look after your affairs after death. It contacts you by email every week and if you don’t respond for three consecutive notices it automatically sends emails to everyone telling them you are dead, and passwords and all information regarding your affairs to the person you nominate to receive it. I think if I was on this plan my friends would often be informed erroneously that I had met my demise.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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18 Responses to Do you want to live on when you die?

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Fascinating conference, and I’m as gobsmacked as you — keep on tweeting??? I had heard of “legacy” social media but didn’t really know what that meant. If anything, it makes me want to come up with a living will that reads, “Shut it all down!” What makes it to print, great, but I’m not Facebooking for eternity! And like you, I could erroneously misinform email recipients of my death. Too funny! But a great topic. One we usually shy away from discussing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • For such a sombre subject it was a great sharing of different viewpoints across the various disciplines and the attendees were full of life.
      It is impossible to shut things down unless you have given your passwords to someone with the instructions to do it. The problem is that you have so many passwords and keeping up with all the changes you would have to constantly be revising the lot. It becomes a real problem for parents whose children have died where they don’t know the passwords and sometimes aren’t face book friends and they can’t gain access to see the memorials or close it down. A topic that needs more discussion.


  2. Tweeting and Facebooking after your death – gives new meaning to mindless.
    I think people should stop trying to forestall what is inevitable and make better use of their lives here on earth. So much to be done; imagine how much could be accomplished with half the effort suggested by LivesOn. People would live on in the deeds they perform before their demise. A free legacy worth everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely Sharon. I cannot understand it myself. It did make me aware of some issues but why you would want to be a virtual presence passes me by. I asked whether the takers up of this were predominantly young people but the speaker didn’t know. Leaving a legacy whilst you are hear seems a much better way to go and of more benefit to those living.


  3. lifelessons says:

    I’m just wondering what will happen to those of us who have published books on Amazon? What happens when we die? They didn’t ask us to set up anyone to inherit our payments.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sherri says:

    Good Lord! I am as gobsmacked as you Irene, I had no idea! I was curious about your conference, thanks for posting about it, it sounds absolutely fascinating 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. noelleg44 says:

    I have one thought: why should I care about it? I won’t be around to care. The only thing would be income from books, but you can always designate a recipient for that with your bank. Still, I think that conference must have been fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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