Media Magazine

Write Your Own Obit and Paint Your Life’s Picture

Posted on the 06 March 2013 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

TAKEAWAY: In the digital age, there is no need to leave details of your life to an obituary writer who may be in a hurry to get home, so more people are engaging in auto obit writing

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No reason to worry in anticipation of what some writer in a hurry may write about you as you make that final exit. 

I read with interest a column by Alex Beam in The New York Times, headlined, I died yesterday,  where Beam mentions that now allows you to engage in what I am sure will be a new and trendy fashion: auto obituary writing.

Pen your ultimate memoir and tell everyone those things for which you wish to be remembered. Because you will do this ahead of the big event, with plenty of time to meditate on your life and its ups and downs, I am sure that auto obits will be tell all memoirs on wheels; as we will not be around to suffer the consequences of what we may write in that obit, it will be high time for confessions, mea culpas, or just plain embellishments.

It’s only your friends and relatives left behind who will add their comments, approving or denying what they see in that auto obit. Because they are (supposedly) nice, considerate friends and relatives, they will not write the newspaper to contest your auto obit pronouncements!

Nothing new about auto obits

I always knew that my great and memorable journalism professor, Barbara Garfunkel, was ahead of her time.  She was strict but sweet, demanding but helpful, and, to me, a mentor the likes of whom you never forget.

Just as I don’t forget when Miss G, as we affectionately called her, told me one day, years before she died, that she had prepared her own obituary, adding that she wanted to make sure the facts were right.

I also remember that, when she died, an obit writer contacted me, Miss G’s former student, for a quote.

Oh, I will be glad to give you a quote about how wonderful Professor Garfunkel was, but I wonder if you have a copy of the obit that she wrote herself,“ I asked the reporter.

Not really,“ said the reporter, “although that is an interesting detail.“

Interesting, indeed, and a lesson to learn: if you do write your own obituary, make sure that you tell someone, or that you leave specific instructions about its delivery, although, I imagine that in today’s digital world, your final assessment of yourself may be safely stored and easily accessible for all to see.

If no self obit has been prepared, I imagine that in the era of Google and social media,  we all run the risk of an ambitiously enterprising obit writer going through our Facebook and Twitter pages to weave a story from there. 

Something to think about before you post that Facebook entry about all that fun you had last night: is this part of what you would like to be remembered for?

More reasons for all of us to write our own obit and display it properly on our desktops. I think I will not delay writing my own!  Better yet, I will start trying to condense it all to a tweet, and go from there. Something like this. Call it a Tweebit:

Saw life as adventure, loved to fly and to run, eternal optimist; proud father, grandfather. Liked eccentrics, the theater and bubblies.

That sums it up.  Will someone please file it away?

Our previous blog post on obituaries:

Obituraries alive, well and promising

Of very related interest:

The tweet hereafter: archiving the final tweets of dead celebrities


Two Pittsburgh friends are getting international attention for their website “The Tweet Hereafter,” which aggregates the final tweets of celebrities before their deaths, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

**Program keeps tweeting after users have died:

Your social after life?**

First paragraph:

Communicating with the dead is not an unusual or new idea. There are séances and ouija boards, mediums and prayers whispered at graves, there is the hope of communication. LivesOn, an experimental program by a London-based digital agency, aims to make that hope more real, by continuing to tweet on behalf of the deceased.

Of special interest today:

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Is this the worst headline in newspaper history?

First paragraph:

An utterly baffling layout decision at the Mankato (Minn.) Free Press has resulted in what, by most accounts, may be the most unfortunate article headline in print journalism history.

What was supposed to be a throwaway evergreen about grapefruits was transformed in an instant into a bitter, inedible tragedy thanks to the substitution of the letter G with a decidedly un-G-looking piece of grapefruit.

The Economist Creates Experiences Across Multiple Platforms

**Highlight from Nick Blunden, Global Publisher

Economist Digital**

We’ve learned people will pay for a combination of content and experience.

When advertising becomes content, who wins — advertisers or publishers, or both?

Sponsored Content: How Much is Too Much?

Where’s Mario until March 21, 2013?

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Mario’s upcoming speaking engagements

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Take advantage of our iPad Design/Ad Lab workshops

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Do you want to take your brand to the next level by creating a tablet edition? Garcia Media can help. We now offer one- to two-day iPad Design Lab workshops on demand to jumpstart your presence on this exciting new platform. We also offer iPad Ad Lab workshops to develop engaging advertising models for your app. Contact us for more information.

Write your own obit and paint your life’s picture

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