Commentary

The Digital Mourning Period...

  • by , January 28, 2007

A tragic thing happened Saturday night. The life of a fellow student was claimed in an accident just seven blocks away from our campus. I know this, because I got the e-mail.

“[DN|BREAKING NEWS] BSU golfer dies in Riverside Avenue accident.” This came just over 5 hours after the actual accident. A few years ago, we wouldn’t have learned about this until Monday’s paper.

It is times like this that fascinate me about the infiltration of the World Wide Web and supporting technologies into our daily lives. I start to think about how the flow of information has changed with the introduction of a blazingly fast, new, and popular medium into the mix.

You’ve undoubtedly read my fellow bloggers talk about Facebook … and how addicting it can be. Like MySpace, it has become the prime digital social networking utility – connecting us to one another via the information superhighway. The most interesting part to me, however, is the how Facebook has changed the way we grieve classmates who have passed.

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The accident happened around 6:30pm. As soon as 9:09pm … friends of the student who died already begin to post messages in remembrance. Other students can log on and see the messages, and talk to each other during the difficult time.

This isn’t anything new for MySpace. In fact, when you die, there’s a special place where your MySpace profile goes. It’s called MyDeathSpace. It’s pretty morbid.

I’m just glad you can’t be killed online. Yet.

3 comments about "The Digital Mourning Period...".
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  1. Josh, January 29, 2007 at 2:48 p.m.

    Oh my. That link to MyDeathSpace is extremely morbid. It brings a bit too personal a touch to death.

    I also have to wonder at the link for "Your Ad Here" on the page. If advertisers aren't sure about advertising on social networking sites in general, I really have to question how they'd feel about being on a social networking site for the deceased.

    Though - I think I recall Activision having an ad campaign years ago asking that people stick an advert for one of their new games on loved one's tombstones, so there might just be a lid for every pot.

  2. Sean O'Key, January 29, 2007 at 9:36 p.m.

    Yeah, I was shocked when I first learned of MyDeathSpace.

    I never cease to be amazed at the lengths some advertisers will go to push a product.

  3. Alivia Hunter, February 5, 2007 at 6:13 p.m.

    I think people are looking at MyDeathSpace incorrectly. Your viewing from the eyes of someone who has not experienced death since this website has become active. The website can be a positive in a variety of ways.

    1) Kids as well as adults have a place to pour out they’re feelings instead of holding them in
    2) It’s a memorial of that person. No different from a physical one. Not to mention, if the person was active online and has online acquaintances, it could be impossible for a out of state acquaintance to travel, the website is the next best thing
    3) Kids can read real life experiences of people and most importantly other kids and adults who are dying due to bad decisions like drugs and alcohol. If only once every couple of months, can a teenager’s death can be prevented, the website proves it’s worth.

    I have a friend who is currently in hospital going through dialysis and I’m recording my experiences online
    http://www.career-opportunities.net/NurseCareerNursingEducation

    The outpouring of support and the affection for my friend has been amazing. Who would have known he was in the hospital if it wasn’t for the internet? I don’t have all of his friend’s phone numbers? What would happen if someone died and you didn’t find out until months later?

    MyDeathSpace brings people together to mourn a loss; the only difference is how it is being done.

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