People may die, but data doesn’t. Collecting and managing the enormous digital legacy of people is not an easy task. The digital memorialist works with surviving loved ones after someone dies to determine which aspects of a deceased person’s online identity should live on.
The traces we leave online may not reveal who we really are or how we wish to be remembered. That embarrassing selfie you took, or the nasty comments you made during a chat—they’ll remain online forever. As they say, it takes twenty years to make a reputation, and only one moment to undo it. Digital memorialists will edit out these unwanted moments in your online legacy. They will try to craft all of this data—websites, chats, emails, message threads and social media updates—into a respectful yet accurate portrait of the person who passed away, so that a true picture of you lives on.
Sensitivity, good interviewing skills, and online research experience are musts for this position. The digital memorialist is not here to erase all evidence of our more embarrassing moments, but rather to give human context that will bring the data we leave behind to life. The memorialist must be able to bring empathy, compassion and affection to the data.