Dearly beloved, we are (not) gathered here today

From Business Daily:

"Mourning at the click of your mouse" – by Victor Juma

" When Ms Cate Wanja lost her mother recently, she posted the sad news on her Facebook page, allowing all her virtual friends to read the message.

“I wanted to share with my friends what had happened. I knew they would all be able to read the message,” she said.

Messages of condolence started trickling in soon after Ms Wanja had posted the message.

Pundits say that in today’s increasingly impersonal and complex world, with the corresponding steady erosion of traditional social support systems, grieving persons are resorting to the internet to cope with their loss and pain.

With avenues of regular face to face interaction with friends and families fizzling out, mourners are making more use of social networking sites, especially Facebook, to seek support from their virtual friends. "

Read more …

Funny, but when I think about the possibility of dying unexpectedly, and/or prematurely, one of the things I worry about (after the nauseating thought my books will be shipped out in a truck before my body has finished being cremated) is how I'll let online friends know of my demise. I should give my ID/Password for Bluestalking to someone. Maybe more than someone, in case the original person and I are killed in a freak accident. And if anyone must worry about freak, that would be me.

And what of Twitter? And Facebook? How would they know? Who would tell them? Does it even matter?

Twit/Facefriend: Where did she go? Doesn't she know her Farm Town farm has gone to seed? WHO WILL FEED HER LIVESTOCK?!

Then, a day or two later, their attention will drift and I'll become a mere vague memory of someone who complained a lot and had loads of "issues." Maybe they'll read of my freak death. Maybe someone will tweet about it. Or not. Or … Not …

One day it may become necessary to hire someone – perhaps legal counsel – to take care of cyber-notifications of one's demise, or change in life status, shall we say. Perhaps a little box, next to our social networking IDs, is all that's needed. Tick this box for alive, and this for dead.

It's a thought.

Shifting from a face to face world to a virtual one brings up all sorts of issues, doesn't it? Seeking comfort from virtual strangers isn't the strangest of them. After all, I'm sure celebrities who've experienced tragedies have taken comfort from fan letters of sympathy for as long as there've been celebrities. Online they're just typed instead of handwritten.

Any big whoop with that?

In other ways, though, it's a little creepy, if you think about it. Replacing "real" life with virtual life is ubiquitous these days. I'm as guilty as any. Strange, though, when you think of it.

Strange, and interesting.

Oh, and by the way, current status here: ALIVE – No current known health conditions.

3 thoughts on “Dearly beloved, we are (not) gathered here today

  1. I’m with Liz. I also wrote down, Ids and PWs as well as which bill is paid at what web address, etc. I feared they would be left in the dark when the power bill doesn’t get paid, if something happened to me.

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  2. I’ve thought of this to — there was a books blogger who died last year about this time, so any time a prolific blogger stops writing for a week or two at a time, I start to get nervous still.
    I don’t know that my husband would care to log in and let the world know that I died. Kind of disturbing but your right: is this virtual life really a “real life.” Not quite the same…

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