Footnote Creates Facebook App to Help Users Memorialize Friends and Family

footnotelogoAs we chronicle our lives online with pictures, video and notes, the information should live on Facebook for our families to enjoy years into the future. At least, that’s the aim of Footnote.com. The site, which stores historical documents, recently launched a Facebook application called I Remember, which helps people build Facebook profiles for their loved ones who have passed away.

The application constructs profiles that look similar to that of a regular Facebook profile. It has four tabs: A Wall, Info, Photos and  “Remembered By.” The info tab is even more interactive than it is for living Facebook members. It sports a “timeline,” where you can chronicle the significant events in a person’s life. It also features a “facts” box where you record vital information, such as birth, marriages, children and deaths.

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The application makes what would be an otherwise static online obituary more social as well. Users can invite friends to contribute pictures and other pieces of content to the profile that help enrich the person’s memory.

The application touches on an inescapable issue for Internet users of all ages: If they die, what will happen to their identity and information on Facebook? The market has responded to that question with nascent start-ups. Legacy Locker, for example, launched a service that stores login and passwords, giving them to your friend or family member of choice in the event you pass away.

Conclusion

Despite its increased pervasiveness amidst older demographics, Facebook still has a young user base. Since many of their parents and grandparents who have passed away didn’t have Facebook, the ability for those users to make a profile in their memory should be viewed as an admirable endeavor.

That said, we see some potential problems with this service.

Assume, for a moment, that a mother passes away. If her children have never got along well, it might be difficult for them to agree how her presence should be memorialized on Facebook. Would Footnote.com remove a profile after a loved one complained about the content?

The app also fails to address how Facebook users can authorize their loved ones to access content from their own personal profiles. Creating an application (like Virtual Locker) that authorizes friends or family members to manage a profile after their death seems like a critical feature that Facebook itself, perhaps without the aid of third-party companies, should consider managing itself given the gravity of the task.