Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, it's safe to say that once you're dead you're not able to do much in the world. There are a few exceptions, of course: you can leave an ethical will, which can pass on your values and experiences; you can leave a Last Will and Testament, which can pass on your property, assets, and belongings; and now, thanks to the power of modern technology, you can tweet from beyond the grave.
Both CNN and PSFK shared stories this week of companies that are enabling users to send messages via Twitter even after they've died. The two companies, LivesOn andDeadSocial (both launching March 2013), have very different approaches, though.
DeadSocial is a tool for setting up scheduled tweets (or Facebook or LinkedIn messages), to be sent out at a date you specify. That means you can send your niece a birthday message when she turns 10, even if she's only 3 years old now. Your words and messages will be received in the future, after you're gone.
LivesOn, on the other hand, does not tweet your words and messages. Instead, they've created an algorithm that will analyze your word choice, syntax, and interests to create tweets that are seemingly coming from you...even though they're not.
The idea of sending messages after death is nothing new. Many people leave letters or notes for friends and family to find, such as parents leaving notes for their children to receive in the future. But the idea of a Twitter feed created by artificial intelligence posing as you? Is that you at all?
As Digiday said, "Twitter could end up being full of a lot of digital ghosts."