In the fast-paced modern age, internet users are constantly telling their own stories. But since it’s so easy to post anything online, many don’t think much about what they share. Much of the internet satisfies a desire for instant gratification, but how will our digital footprints look years down the line? What of it is worth protecting? How can we regain control over the stories we tell about ourselves and each other?
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The Core77 Design Award-winning platform Loom provides families and communities with a convenient, carefully thought-out tool for outlining their legacies. This software helps individuals map out their life stories with the help of assigned “heirs,” or editors the Loom’s subject trusts to take the reins in their absence. This approach not only encourages families to build and strengthen intergenerational connections, but to talk more openly about death. The easier that conversation is within a group of loved ones, the more likely it is that a deceased or dying family member will face the end of their lives with comfort, dignity, and agency.
Loom is especially helpful for aging members of a family who have less experience with the internet. Since the subject of a Loom gets to make executive decisions, they can become much like the director of a film, hiring and advising skilled individuals on exactly how to carry out their vision. This allows older generations to more actively participate in telling their own stories over the internet, while creating the opportunity for them to get to know and build respect for more digitally experienced kin. A grandparent could come to respect the nascent filmmaking skills of a social media savvy grandchild, who might see their relative in a new light as they sketch out the details of their life story.
At the end of a person’s life, a loom becomes a single place where anyone with an internet connection can share memories about the person in question. Loom adds greater depth to its stories by bringing in real-world connections with Memory Marks, where users and loved ones can add the landmarks of a subject’s lives onto a map. These Marks can include brief or detailed descriptions of the location’s significance, which allows a loom’s visitors to step further inside the perspective of its subject. It adds texture to the subject’s life by reminding loved ones of the distances they traveled, and underlines that there are many ways to mourn beyond visiting a grave. This makes it easier for relatives or friends in other cities or countries to have rich mourning experiences from long distances, and feel connected to the person they are mourning.
While Loom carries a great deal of potential for healing within a given family or community, its design could be revolutionary for encouraging users at large to live more intentionally. Above all else, the platform is interested in inviting long-term thinking into a medium often dominated by short-term impulses.
“It is time to start designing for the long term,” the Loom team said in a statement. “For more responsible and compassionate internet habits in both the pre-need and post-mortem. Now is the time to set the tone and spark the conversation of being more intentional with our actions, our story, and what we collectively leave behind.”