Social media from beyond the grave

App lets anyone leave a message for family and friends in the event of untimely death.

iPhone 5 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach)
iPhone 5 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach)
One of the latest and certainly most controversial Facebook apps to come out of Israel recently deals with a question that most of us don’t really what to think about – what would you like to have told your loved ones, if you were to suddenly pass away.
Not only is the subject of the “If I die 1st” app catching people’s attention, the way it’s being marketed is also a bit too graphic for some. When the first user of the app dies, his or her message will be featured on social media website and on international newscasts, websites and blogs, reaching an audience of 200 million people.
Eran Alfonta, founder of “If I die 1st”, tells The Jerusalem Report that the idea came to him after a friend was almost killed in a car accident while on vacation.
He decided to develop an app that would let anyone, anywhere, leave a message or recording for family and friends in the event of untimely death.
Once a user registers with the app, three trustees are chosen from the user’s friends list on Facebook, who are in charge of reporting the passing of the user.
When the death is reported, those trustees must confirm the passing, and a time buffer is activated to ensure that there has been no mistake.
Alfonta says that he sees that app as a way to attempt to deal with the question of what to do with Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts once the user has died. “The digital assets are today not being handled properly after we are gone and what we are suggesting is also a way to handle them and to leave instructions on what to do with them, who will have access to it and who will be the owner of those assets,” Alfonta notes.
Our generation is generating lots of content, whether on Twitter, Facebook or any other social application and we should take care of it,” he adds.
Alfonta says the company knew its marketing campaign would be controversial, but adds that when they started to plan how to get the message out about the app, they quickly realized that most of the traditional means were not appropriate. So they decided to go with the more controversial option of a holding “contest”, but maintains that their campaigns utilize a great deal of humor, since it’s such a serious topic.
Gal Mor, Editor in Chief at the Israeli social-media blog tells The Report that he is skeptical as to whether it will catch on, and become as popular as some of the other apps available. “I think people don’t want to mess around with apps that socialize their own deaths,” Mor says. “It sounds quite weird to me.”
Mor says that while the app could catch on, it is unlikely that it will be as successful as others out there which people might have a less difficult time dealing with. Even so, he says, perhaps in a few years’ time, people will be more open to this type of app, given the inroads of social media into everyday life.
So far the app has attracted more than 200,000 users from more than 42countries.