Funeral Industry News

Digital Death Day, Huge Opportunity For Funeral Industry

May 24, 2010

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

Digital Death Day, Huge Opportunity For Funeral Industry

image As many of you know last week I had the privilege of co-hosting the first ever “Digital Death Day” un-conference in Mountain View, California.

One of the attendees posted the following on his blog

One of the unconference principles states something like ?the people who come are the right people to be there.? In this case, I couldn?t agree more. We had a very diverse group: authors, researchers, technologists, funeral directors, estate planners/attorneys, and entrepreneurs.

Never before has there been an organized group gather to discuss digital death, which is a completely un-regulated topic. Can you believe that Facebook and Google are basically the only companies that have documented death policy pertaining to what happens to your stored data upon death? looks forward to keeping you update on the developments of this topic and how it pertains to the funeral industry.

For an overview of some of the topics touched on at the first “Digital Death Day” please read the following excerpt from Evan Carroll, co-author of

Some quick notes about the people I met?

It was a pleasure to finally meet Jeremy Toeman and his business partner Adam Burg from Legacy Locker. They?re both good guys and share a spirit of cooperation, not necessarily competition. Speaking of competition, it was good to see Nate Lustig from Entrustet again. Both Legacy Locker and Entrustet (along with DataInherit who couldn?t send a representative) were sponsors of the event.

I also met Sam Beal, founder of Sam is helping older individuals record their family stories in digital form. I was especially impressed by his telephone service that allows non-Internet users to phone in their stories. They are then preserved, like a voicemail message, for their family. The oral tradition preserved digitally?what a great idea.

Stacey Pitsillides, PhD student and creator of, joined us from London. I?ve followed her work for some months now and I was pleased to meet her. She also shared some great videos with the group and is going to lend her design talents to the group in the future.

Some professions are slow to change, and with digital death we deal with at least two of them: funeral directors and attorneys. We had both in attendance at Digital Death Day. I was pleased to meet Nathan Dosch ( and Ryan Thogmartin ( who are leading the digital charge in both of these industries. Kudos to both of them.

I also want to mention Dazza Greenwood, executive director of theeCitizen Foundation, which addresses legal and policy issues for tomorrow?s Internet systems. I?m personally excited to see a policy leader in the group and I?m sure Dazza and the Foundation will help us raise awareness and create policies for dealing with death on the Internet.

Of course, I also have to recognize Kaliya Hamlin and her team for coordinating the event. Having everyone in the same room was exactly what our community needed to move forward.

There were many others who contributed great ideas?too many to name. Thanks to everyone for the great ideas. I?ll devote a future post to the new ideas that came out of the event, but for now I?ll say that the event was an overwhelming success and I look forward to Digital Death Day 2011. (I?ve actually signed on to help coordinate the next event.) It?s an exciting time for the Digital Death community. Onward! is also onboard to help plan the next “Digital Death Day” (looking like mid-November).

Breaking News

We are also in the planning stages of holding a larger “Digital Death Day” for funeral professionals that would take place the day after the NFDA convention or possibly the ICCFA convention in March.

We will keep you informed as more things develop surrounding this topic. The funeral industry and funeral directors have a huge opportunity to help lead the charge in educating the consumer about “Digital Death“.

Also be watching for a new “Digital Death” section being added to the forum as well as a new Articles section focused on Digital Death.

If you would like to read all of the Tweets that were sent during the digital death day un-conference please search Twitter for: #ddd2010