Plan Your Digital Afterlife With World Without Me

A review of web app World Without Me that allows you to plan your digital afterlife

What if you could live on digitally forever? With around 125 million Indians having spent time online in July 2012, the digital consumption is bound to rise in the coming years. And with all these small experiences we have online, would it not make sense to treasure them in some way or the other when we die? World Without Me (WMM) with such thoughts plans to build your Digital Footprint and according to them lets you ‘Live Digitally Forever’.

You can register to the portal which has an option to ‘Register with Facebook’ too, although the Facebook option seems to give no response when you click on it. The App on Facebook too, seems to be dead and does not support secure browsing. Having a sign in feature is a must for any portal to make the user experience simplified (Users are tired of filling forms everywhere!).

The Facebook page does boast of more than 2K likes with the presence of more than a year. The engagement front is not something to talk about with hardly any conversations happening on the page. This can be due to lack of awareness.

So, after filling in about yourself and uploading a picture of you, what else does WWM provide? Some of the features I noticed are below:

Dispatches: Dispatches work as future messages with an option of embedding audio/video files as well. It works like a surprise message to your friends who are on WWM and can work in two ways. Either the recipient knows the date and time the dispatch is coming to him but not from whom or he does not know anything about it at all. The first option is a better way to build curiosity of your friends over a surprise he/she is going to receive on a particular time.

Discussions: Discussions are private conversations you can have with a select few. This is more like a Group chat feature on Facebook.

Vault: The Vault feature is what makes it a Digital Footprint keeper. You can store information of your digital networks (even login information) which are known as ‘Assets’. The ‘login information’ factor here is what makes it a risk prospect from a normal users perspective. Keeping all your credentials in one account and hoping to not being compromised is a leap of faith WWM has to tell its users to take.

Re-Authenticating in every 5 minutes for the Vault feature is a bit irritating, but is a must for an additional security measure.

My FootPrint: The collective footprint which the website held earlier is now replaced by two sections namely, Personal and Social which according to them makes it a “Percial” website. The Social Footprint section was showing my recent 4 status updates from Facebook only. I expected it to capture my lifetime updates so that I can savour them for old times sake.

The Tweets section lets you showcase tweets with hashtags designated by you in your ‘Settings’ which can be located on the extreme right. I did submit and re-submit the hashtag ‘#SocialMedia’ so that I could monitor and archive all the tweets in my digital print (Yes, I would want to take all Social Media tweets with me even in the afterlife!), But all I could find was a blank page. I am not sure if I am the only one experiencing this glitch.

Also, for Twitter, it would have made more sense to showcase your tweets as your property rather than a hashtag (You cannot completely own any hashtag, but at least your tweets are self-made).

You can keep important documents, emails and personal discussions in your Footprint as well under the ‘Personal Footprint’ section.(A digital Will anyone?)

Inheritance: The Inheritance tab lets you know who has nominated you for their assets and how many of it you have inherited.

Trigger: Trigger empowers the inheritance and should be used only in case of your demise. This puts in motion all the inheritance (Facebook password to your wife, Important documents to your colleague) related information.

The ‘Help’ section on the website is pretty well laid out and makes you understand each aspect of the website in detail. The interface is simple and easy to grasp for a common user.

Final Verdict

The concept is enticing but I’m not sure it’ll ring a bell with the Indian audience. For once, how are we supposed to know when we are going to die and when should we plan to set the trigger in place?

Also, this place will get boring for you to interact if it is without your friends. You will end up exiting the site without doing anything else. The Dispatch feature is exciting enough to surprise your friends/Wives (Girlfriends) by making a custom video or dedicate a song for your loved one on his/her birthday.

Storing Important Documents adds extra dimension which can range from your digital will to your online confessions - some things which you would want your loved ones to know you have done online or offline through a letter or a speech.  What would a person do passing on his Facebook/Twitter login to his loved one after his demise? That would again depend from person to person but would definitely not be my choice of trigger.

An online diary which would contain your favourite videos, blogs and your social side with Facebook updates and posts is something they could have added as a feature. In our absence, our loved ones would love to run through our scraps and bits of personal information. Replenishing that online with a Diary/Timeline type layout could have beautified the experience further. Like a scrapbook of sorts!

Assurances of premium security are a must to a new user to actually put faith on to this website and upload his belongings. A video on the homepage dedicated to it would install faith of the user with how WWM takes all the pains to take care of their personal stuff without being played at.

Death in India is a taboo subject. We do plan it offline by taking care of our loved one’s future in our absence but planning ours digitally is not something we want to think of. But then, you never know with the Internet!