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Connie Schultz explains Facebook’s “If I Die” app in her column, “What To Say When — Not If — We Die:”

We seldom know the ultimate deadline for our lives. Most of us try not to think about it. Facebook has made denial a bit harder with a new application that allows members to record or write their final messages, which will be posted after they die.

In true American fashion, the app is titled “If I Die.” Not when. If. I am reminded of an Irish doctor at the Cleveland Clinic who once told me, with a wry smile, “In America, death is an option.”

Facebook’s “If I Die” promotional video features a male British voice ominously cautioning that when it comes to end-of-life messaging, stalling can be dicey.

“Last words — we all hope we’ll get a chance to say some. But not knowing when or where we’re going to die makes it a bit tricky. … Don’t wait until it’s too late. Leave your message today. It can be a bid farewell, a favorite joke, a long-kept secret, an old score you wanted to settle or even some valuable advice.”

Users appoint three friends, or “trustees,” who are charged with verifying your death to Facebook, thus triggering the posting of your final words. In 2012, though, it’s a logical next step in the virtual communities we’ve built on the Web.

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