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The social antithesis.

Summary: Let's consider that you as a favourite nephew of your uncle never really asked to be the chief legacy holder of the social trash that was bequeathed upon you

By Sami Moubayed, Special to Gulf News,Thinker

When it comes to an inheritance, you can either be a confused successor or a very seasoned one. Most inheritors belong to the non-plus category who do not have the faintest idea of what they need to do with the bounties bequeathed upon them. They either go overboard on a spending spree or the wiser ones think of it as a legacy to be passed on.

When Willem Van Gogh inherited his uncle Vincent's priceless masterpieces, he did a noble thing by founding the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam which has, for a century, regaled art appreciators around the world.

A noble gesture that brings me to the all-too-sundry issue of inheriting social media accounts of your dear departed loved ones. If you happen to be the next-of-kin of some 'sociophile', you clearly run the risk of inheriting the sordid drama that goes on in social media from another person's life. As though managing your own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram pages were not enough. Just when you thought you would hire a manager to tweet and Instagram on your behalf, you are saddled with the added responsibility of impersonating your uncle, aunt or cousin.

A German court ruling in July this year is the cause of all this pain as it has, by allowing an individual to bequeath a social media account to a surviving kin, turned the rather anti-social saga into an ongoing soap opera. I just marvel at the dying person's vanity.

Social media pundits compare these assorted virtual accounts to a chest of drawers that store valuable correspondence that the deceased may have had over the years of his life. Fancy pillaging through a drawer of confidential correspondence of a dear departed. Sounds like a voyeur's glee.

Don't get me wrong. Most of us are seriously attached to the memory of a loved one and may even pride inheriting the bouquets and brickbats he or she received during his or her life time. Quite like you take pride in moving your fingers over the frayed embroidery of your grandmother's moth-eaten quilts that you have inherited or admire the filigree on the wooden chest that your grandaunt had bequeathed upon you. But ask yourself: Can you derive that sense of propriety from social media inheritance?

We are often told we cannot choose our relatives. We are born into a family and by default an unending train of aunts, uncles and assorted sets of cousins stake a claim to our lives. So one tacitly accepts annoying, rambling, noisy relatives, warts and all. Now adding insult to that injury one will inherit their social media accounts -- trolls, rejoinders, insults and inane chatter all inclusive. It's a package deal and I do not think I would envy the inheritor of such tedium.

We all are drowning in real and virtual clutter that we have created with our endless chats and posts. Now to play Chief Guardian angel over a trail of inane memorabilia your spinster aunt may have created to ward off the ennui in her life? That hardly sounds like an inheritance anyone would covet.

Its not like you inheriting letters from Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela or the raw lyrics created by John Lennon on the back of a napkin. Now those would make for a priceless treasure that you would be proud to inherit.

In all probability, your garrulous uncle who died and left you his social media account might have a bunch of people thirsting to punch his nose and his accounts might be flowing with hate mail that you may not be too keen to inherit.

Let's consider that you as a favourite nephew of your uncle never really asked to be the chief legacy holder of the social trash that was bequeathed upon you. Your uncle pledged it while you are still reeling under the shock as you know the car and the Rolex watch have been claimed by your cousin while you are left to sift through a pile of meaningless ramblings.

To exact sweet revenge all you need to do is press the delete button, clear the cache and deactivate the account.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Aug 23, 2018
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