Final Impressions

The online afterlife

Written by James Combs

Start planning for life after death on social media.

There was a time when basic questions raced through the mind of anyone approaching death. 

What will I leave in my will and to whom?

What kind of funeral would I like?

Who will read my eulogy? 

But in an era when we devote so much of our lives to Facebook and Twitter, it’s no surprise that a new question has taken precedence. 

Who will manage my social media account once I’m dead? 

That has been on the minds of many people ever since Facebook introduced a new feature in 2015. Users can designate a legacy contact to manage their account when they pass away. Other social media companies have followed suit and offer a similar feature. 

In other words, you’ll still be alive even in death. Finally, we’ve achieved eternal life, the opportunity to communicate from beyond the grave, and the ability to continue tweeting even when our hearts stop beating. 

Death is a topic I’ve avoided like the plague. But when heart disease, stroke, liver cancer, and lung cancer run in your family, you can only come to one logical conclusion: bad genes lead to bad diseases. Therefore, I’ve been preparing for my online afterlife with funny James-isms because I wouldn’t want people to remember me any other way. I’ll assign my mom to be my legacy contact. 

Here’s a small sampling of what I’m going to have her post in my absence. 

The remembrance post

“Remember the time James scarfed down a 6-pound burrito in 25 minutes at Eduardo’s Lokos Tacos in Tavares? Ironically, his waitress said, ‘You look stressed out and fatigued. Do you have a lot on your plate?’” 

The career-related post

“Before his passing, James spent 18 years as a magazine journalist. James once interviewed a death-row inmate at a state prison in Raiford, the site where serial killer Ted Bundy died in an electric chair in 1989. James said Bundy’s means of death didn’t surprise him too much because we fry everything in the South.” 

The avid sports fan post

“James would’ve loved seeing Kentucky beat South Carolina for the 13th straight time in football. The streak was at five when James died. He always said South Carolina has the arrogance of Notre Dame and the trophy case of Vanderbilt.”

The political post

“James would have been extremely upset at Hillary Clinton for referring to all Southerners as hillbillies and rednecks today. James wanted people to know that not all Southerners spit tobacco, drive Fords, own guns, and religiously watch college football. Oh, wait…”

The unintended funny death anniversary post

“It has been one long year since I lost my beloved James to a massive heart attack. In honor of James, I’m going to visit his favorite restaurant and order his favorite sandwich: a triple burger.”

Of course, I’ll also have my mom post periodic updates about my status. 

“James is still dead.” 

Hopefully, that won’t generate too many likes. 

About the author

James Combs

Akers Media Group's James Combs has been a staff writer for several local publications since August 2000. He has had the privilege of interviewing some of Lake County’s many fascinating residents—from innovative business owners to heroic war veterans—and bringing their stories to life. A resident of Lake County since 1986, James recently embarked on a journey to lead a healthier lifestyle. He has lost 60 pounds and walks nearly five miles a day. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, skeet shooting and watching his beloved Kentucky Wildcats!

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