When acclaimed fantasy writer Sir Terry Pratchett died, fans who followed him on Twitter were in for a surprise that was both tear-jerking and heartwarming. Merging his online identity with a well-loved character from his famous Discworld series, Pratchett allowed the character of Death to announce his passing.
Because the character of Death always speaks in all capital letters within the books, fans immediately knew what to think when they saw Death speaking through Twitter: "AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER." The next Tweet provided further context: "Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night." Then, moments later, a press release from his publisher, followed by a simple: "The End."
According to BBC, these Tweets were a personalized goodbye planned by the author himself.
How did these tweets appear after the novelist had died? They weren't scheduled - as some have suggested - but rather were posted by Pratchett's assistant Rob Wilkins shortly after his death, the author's literary agent told BBC Trending.
Because Pratchett fought a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease prior to his death, he had time to weigh how his online presence would factor in to the announcement of his death. Using the well-beloved character of Death to announce his passing was Pratchett's final hat tip to his loyal fans, and fully in keeping with his author persona.
It's just this sort of thoughtful planning that we hope to facilitate at SafeBeyond. Whether or not we have been diagnosed with a debilitating illness, all of us can take steps to manage the fate of our digital footprint after our passing.