Imagine getting a notification from your smartphone that you have a text from your father on your birthday.
That's not a big deal ... unless your father had died years ago.
It may sound kind of creepy, but it could be normal in the future.
A company called SwonSong is entering the market of digital legacy solutions. The app will give its users the ability to record and save video clips, audio clips or written messages and schedule when to have them delivered.
Want to wish Junior a happy birthday in 2040 when you're long gone? You can do that with the app. SwonSong is looking for funding to help finish coding work needed to make it available for iOS and Android devices by the fall.
"I got the idea for the app when I lost my own mother to dementia," said David Lamonby, one of SwonSong's co-creators, in a release. "It was heart-breaking to see the person I loved and knew so well gradually fade away and be replaced by another desperately unhappy person. This app would have allowed her to record message when she was healthy and before the illness totally changed her personality and eventually took her from us."
If this technology had been around in the late 1950s, I may have heard from my father's dad, who died when my father was just 12 years old. I've always been curious about what he sounded like and what kind of personality he had. It would be neat to compare him to my father and see if they have similar quirks. My grandpa Jim would have a spot at my "invite any three people to dinner" question.
Technology makes it easier than ever to reach out to our loved ones in the afterlife. We've all seen TV shows or movies where people sit around a lawyer's office and the lawyer pops in a VHS tape or DVD to hear the dead person read the will to loved ones gathered.
Now, you can just schedule an email, attach your self-made video to a file and save the hassle of going to an office to tell them what they're getting from you.
Thanks to the explosion of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, many of us have rather large digital legacies to handle once we die. For many years, a person's social media accounts were basically frozen when they died. Facebook integrated a "legacy contact" feature in February that lets users designate someone to post a final message and manage the page once the user has died.
Choosing a digital executor in legal wills is a new phenomenon as well. A Harris Poll showed 70 percent of those who responded have no digital executor. More than half of those who had no digital executor didn't know they needed one, and 39 percent assumed their family could just go in and change their accounts. A little more than half of those with social media accounts said they would want them deleted after death.
I'll keep my social media going long after I'm gone and schedule videos to be posted to help my friends and family remember me. I'll even make a special message to have posted if the Cubs win the World Series to congratulate their fans for sticking it out over the centuries.