Death In The 21st Century


When I was in high school I had the unfortunate experience of having some of my fellow students die. They were not my friends but I did have a couple of classes with them. It was strange going to class the next day and knowing that they were gone forever.

The death of a young person in the 21st century is different than has been in previous years. It used to be that when someone died they were gone and there was not much left of them. You might find a personal diary or something of that sort, but that didn’t make it out into the publics hands.

Today things are quite different. With the advent of social networking sites like Twitter and FaceBook, you have status updates in which people are constantly telling others what they’re doing. “I’m going to the store” or “I’m cooking dinner.” These are just a few examples of something that someone might update about.

Then you have the aspect of a user laying everything out on the table. Their favorite music, their favorite movies, things they like to do, people they really like, people they admire and a whole host of other things that indicate that these people really are human.

All of these aspects of the social networking arena are great! But here is the interesting area that I am exploring. What happens when one of your FaceBook friends or Twitter buddies dies? Everyone that knew this person is left with a full profile of a someone that no longer exists, a self written obituary and a perfect picture of who this person really was. A page filled with memories, hundreds of pictures and conversations all documented for the whole world or at least his or her friends to see.

No longer is the mom or dad of a dead young person left with a diary or two that they can privately skim through solely for the memories, now everyone has one.

Another aspect that interests me is the usage of social media in court. What if someone’s status indicates that they are going to the store to pick up some eggs, but they don’t make it back from the store. If no one knew where this person was headed in the first place and they are found miles away in a dumpster, maybe this could assist in putting a person in the right place at the right time and lead to prosecution of a perspective criminal.

Its just interesting to me that people have the desire to constantly tell other people what they are thinking. I do this just as much as the next person, but it perplexes me. Why?  Why do I have this desire? Does anyone really care? Why do I check my FaceBook first when I get online? Why do I want everyone to know that I like Bob Dylan? All of these questions interest me.

Its not because I want to meet people that I agree with, because I don’t agree with a lot of my online friends. I will admit that it can help in finding women, but in a not so creepy way. It does connect me with people that I don’t consider my best friends and it connects me with people all over the world. I can use it to tell people about my newest article or blog post, as I did when I posted this one. And it allows for you interact or engage others on their time rather than your time, while at the same time granting you the same privilege when someone interacts with or engages you.

This way of communicating is interesting. But of all the things, the idea that we are all constantly writing our own obituaries is quite interesting.

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2 Responses to “Death In The 21st Century”

  1. nanchatte Says:

    >This way of communicating is interesting. But of all the things, the idea that we are all constantly writing our own obituaries is quite interesting

    Cheers. Whenever I write an entry, I will now forever be thinking of what I’m going to leave behind when I’m gone 😉

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