Posthumous digital letters

There’s a nice article at The Millions by Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin (“You’ve Got Mail: On the New Age of Biography”):

Holroyd’s suggestion that the computer represents a turning point in biographical writing carries some weight.  After centuries of shuffling papers, biographers must now deal with the sudden digitization of the self, and the behavioral changes that have followed. Contemporary literary biographies — of Susan Sontag, David Foster Wallace, Nora Ephron, John Updike, all of whom adopted email quite late in their lives — are petri dishes for a new age of biography.

What’s going to happen to all your digital information when we die, anyways? Do you have a plan for that? There’s a whole host of legal and practical unknowns. Digital data’s great, but precarious. Read all about it at the Digital Beyond.


  • Thanks for mentioning The Digital Beyond in your post. I’m glad you find our site useful.


    • Hi Evan,

      Truth be told, I’m like everybody else — I don’t have a great understanding of the challenges related to posthumous digital access and conservation; and I’m also not doing much to prepare for some untold eventuality… (so I’m not sure how useful I find your site… although I think it’s fantastic) but what I think about what you’re doing, well, I think it’s extremely important and extremely interesting. I suppose one of the biggest reasons people don’t think of or prepare for digital afterlife issues is because it can seem or feel morbid to think from that perspective. Would you agree?

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