So, rapper/actor Heavy D who mostly achieved prominence in the 90s died today suddenly. My twitter feed is being inundated sporadically with necrotweets from his feed while he was still living. I’m not sure this bothers me, it’s cathartic for folks. But it illustrates the differences with grieving in an era where we’re all connected. We saw it with Steve Jobs too, but he was such a larger-than-life figure that I think that sort of response would’ve been the same if we weren’t in such a “connected” world.
It made me think about my own social presence. What do you want to happen to your accounts when you’re no longer around? There have been startups who’ve offered to take care of those issues for you, but for those of us around now…is your Facebook page the most important possession you’ll care about? Probably not. It’ll come and go like most things. One way that transparency online does help in an instance like this, is it provides people a real glimpse into your actual thinking. So it makes it easier to know where someone stands on a topic if they’re putting it out there.
I recall a guy who had a strong internet presence within a niche community, who died suddenly. His friends paid to maintain his web hosting for years and at some point, several years after decided to stop doing so. At what point does the connection extinguish? When is enough time for digital mourning? For those close, probably never. I write this because I ponder it in my own life. It’d just as well prefer to see everything deleted, rather than turning over passwords. Not because there’s anything especially secret, I’m just not sure there’s anything — journals, commentary or such — that’s really necessary to left at this point.
I can see that changing, but it’s a topic that I’m not entirely sure I’ve grasped. What say you?