When you think about end-of-life planning, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the logistics of it all, from creating a will to determining your funeral wishes. However, there’s more to it than just filling out paperwork and making arrangements. This is a great opportunity to think about your legacy — what do you want to leave behind, and how do you want to be remembered? 

When thinking about how you want to be remembered after you’re gone, you might  consider creating a digital time capsule to share with friends and family. Much like an ordinary time capsule, this version allows you to leave behind a digital legacy of your life for your loved ones to enjoy. 

If designing a digital time capsule is something you’d like to explore, follow our guide below for more information. 

What is a digital time capsule?

A digital time capsule, also called a virtual time capsule or online time capsule, refers to a collection of images, videos, photographs, and digitized documents that represent a specific time, place, or person. These virtual time capsules are like multimedia scrapbooks that can be viewed on a computer, smartphone, laptop, tablet or even projected onto a TV or screen. 

This guide focuses on how to create a digital time capsule of yourself and your life that your loved ones can view now and continue to watch long after you die. 

How do I use a digital time capsule?

A digital time capsule is used just like any other time capsule — as a way to help your loved ones remember you after you are gone. Unlike a regular time capsule, a digital time capsule can be shared with multiple family and friends at one time since it is online. This allows more individuals to carry on your memory, instead of just one family member or friend.

To use a digital time capsule, start by thinking of the things that are important to you and what will help your loved ones know what was important to you. Then, begin collecting those items virtually and putting them together. Don’t worry if you only have hard copies of some things or other items are in older formats like VHS. We’ll discuss how to incorporate these items below.

How long does a digital time capsule last?

A digital time capsule can last forever — that’s the beauty of it! Compared to a regular time capsule that can deteriorate over time and also has to be physically stored somewhere, a digital time capsule lives online so you don’t have to worry about it not holding up or lasting over the years.

What should be in a virtual time capsule?

The truth is, it’s entirely up to you on what you’d like to include! Anything that you want your family and friends to have to remember you by is appropriate to add. 

It can feel overwhelming when thinking about what to put in your virtual time capsule. In our guide below, we cover seven easy steps to create your own time capsule. 

  1. Determine your platform

    Before creating your digital time capsule, you need to start with the technical details. Determine what program you want to use to design it and what kind of platform you want it to live on when it’s complete. There are countless ways to create your digital capsule, such as making a video that you upload to YouTube, designing it in PowerPoint, or creating it with an app such as Time Caps. 

    Your comfort level with various platforms and different types of technology may ultimately determine what you use to build and host your online time capsule. Not sure where to start? Do some research to find a platform that best suits your skills and preferences. 
  1. Gather your images

    This is the fun part. Take some time to think about the images you’d like to include in your online time capsule. Remember that just because you only have physical copies of the pictures doesn’t mean you can’t include them! As long as you have access to a scanner, you can easily upload all sorts of photographs. This means you can include anything from your own baby pictures to photos of your ancestors. 
    Think outside of the box, too. Maybe you want to include an image of your daughter’s baby announcement or the ticket stub from your first Yankee baseball game. There are so many ways to include images that will help you tell your life’s story. 
  1. Consider including videos

    Yes, your time capsule can include videos, too! Video clips are a great way to really bring your time capsule to life. You could pull some recent clips off your smartphone, but there are also ways you can digitize your VHS tapes from when you were younger. This allows you to include everything from clips of your wedding 40 years ago to your vacation last summer. 
  1. Include personal messages 

    Some people like to include a voice or video recording of themselves in their virtual time capsules. This is a beautiful way to address your loved ones and impart any last words and wisdom. It also lets you express your love and gratitude while giving them a chance to hear your voice again even after you’re gone. If you’d rather not include a recording of yourself, you can still leave a message in your time capsule, such as writing a note and scanning it or including a slide with your desired text. 

    You can also add captions to your images to give context, describe certain places or events, or provide additional details. For example, maybe you want to include the place and date on the images of your European adventures or explain who is pictured in the family photographs. This is especially helpful because it lets your loved ones know why the images are important.
  1. Add some music

    You may want to include a playlist with your favorite songs if you are creating a slideshow or other digital format. These tunes will play in the background during your photomontage. Maybe you’ll go with sweet and melodic tunes or choose upbeat and happy songs — the choice is yours. 
  1. Watch a preview

    After you’ve put the finishing touches on your virtual time capsule, be sure to play it back for yourself to ensure everything looks and sounds the way you want. You can always alter the speed to slow it down or speed it up, change the size of the images so it loads faster, or edit the text to include important details. 
  1. Share with your loved ones 

    Once you’ve finalized your online time capsule, it’s time to share it with your friends and family. Be sure to give them access to whatever format you designed it in, whether that’s a link to the video online or a copy of the DVD. 

    Think about if you want to view it with your loved ones or if you’d prefer them to watch it in private. Another option is to request that they watch it after you die. Whatever you decide, be clear on your instructions so your loved ones can enjoy it the way you intended. 

Allow yourself time and space to give your end-of-plans some careful thought. In addition to your digital time capsule, you might also want to write an ethical will to share your advice, memories, and dreams for your children or grandchildren. After all, this isn’t just about you — it’s also about your loved ones and how they can continue to cherish you and keep your memory alive after you pass away. 

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