Digital Afterlives and Why They Matter

By Elaine Kasket

By Elaine Kasket

In the early days of social media, I started studying a subject that was, at that point, truly niche. It's not niche anymore, and a growing number of diverse writers and thinkers are doing work that helps us get our heads around both life and death in the digital age. This topic is far from being just about bereavement and how we grieve online. As my fellow writer and researcher Carl Ohman puts it, the dead are at the heart of the privacy debate. By using the lens of what happens to data when we die, you'll understand far more about privacy, identity, relationships and the power of big technology companies.  

All the Ghosts in the Machine: The Digital Afterlife of your Personal Data

Elaine Kasket

£9.99 £9.29

My own book, published first in 2019 under the alternative subtitle 'Illusions of Immortality in the Digital Age', which was a bit poetically obscure! Hence the re-titling on paperback release and US publication. An overview of death and the digital from all sorts of vantage points.

Digital Souls: A Philosophy of Online Death

Patrick Stokes


Published under Bloomsbury's academic arm and with the word 'philosophy' in the title, but non-academics should not be put off. I had the pleasure of seeing this book early on and writing a blurb for the cover. It's profound, accessible, moving, and ever so interesting. Highly recommended. Patrick and I are colleagues and have done a couple of podcast episodes together.

The Other Side of Sadness (Revised): What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss

George Bonanno

£14.99 £13.94

If you're interested in death and the digital from a bereavement perspective, it's essential to understand the spectacularly variable, idiosyncratic nature of loss. Bonano's book is one of many that challenges the stage model of grief, and it does it particularly beautifully and accessibly.

Haunted Media: Electronic Presence from Telegraphy to Television

Jeffrey Sconce


Jeffrey's 'prehistory' of communicating with the spirits through the ether demonstrates definitively that we didn't get here overnight. He traces hauntings via electronic presence from the telegraph onwards, and it's a corker of a book. It's fascinating to read it 20 years after its publication and to see the continuity over 200 years.

This list is due to grow as more students of death & the digital publish their work, and as first-person accounts of people's experiences in this realm emerge. Stay tuned...

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