Friday, May 13, 2011

Facebooking our virtual tombstones?

Facebook is like the iPod shuffle feature. One minute you are just cruising along, and then BAM, a crazy friend requests hits you smack in the face. Sometimes, it's a blast from the past, someone you liked or at least got along with who evokes old memories that may have dropped on your brain's selective retention list.

The most fascinating aspect is that as we get older, people on our friends list will start to pass away (some may have already), yet their pages will remain as a tribute to their memories; virtual tombstones, if you will.

Right now, sites of those who have passed away are still available online due to privacy concerns that keep anyone from actually accessing and deleting the accounts. But there is some indication that the creators of social networking sites have already begun preparing for the future and may offer family members of the deceased the option to take down the site or keep it up forever.

I think it is a great idea to leave these sites up. Whether you would like to visit the site of a deceased friend in silence, or would like to leave a comment, the opportunity would be available. How cool would it be to leave a comment recounting some old memory for everyone to see and be a part of?

When you think about the billions of people who have gone before us, forgotten, with no records of their existence whatsoever, social networking seems like a bit of a miracle, giving us some modicum of immortality. Chalk one up for the little guy.


  1. I've found myself visiting the Facebook page of a departed person before and reading their social interactions with a bittersweet frame of mind. Kenny, this is a great perspective and much better than making one of these and putting it up on your blog:

  2. I visit the sites of deceased friends too, just to reminisce or to look at their pictures. And a couple of times, after reading that a friend of a friend has passed I've gone to their FB page just to see who they were. Sometimes the last post a person makes is heartbreaking. I've also read a final suicide post on FB, posted by a friend of a friend. And recently I noted that someone who committed suicide deleted her FB before she killed herself. I still wonder if the act was symbolic.