So you have arrived in the 21st Century. You have registered your profile on Friends Reunited. You have an on-line bank account. You have one or more webmail accounts. Hell, you even have a food blog and a blogger profile.
And tomorrow morning, as you are stepping out of your lovely home to walk through the park and pick up some freshly baked pain-aux-chocolat from the friendly baker… OK, OK, I know. Fantasising again…. Tomorrow morning as you are standing on the edge of the pavement gripping your overpriced Starbucks latte and fretting about being late for your soul-numbing job, you slip and fall in front of a big red London bus. Do not pass go, do not collect £200. Instantly you join the Big Blogosphere in the Sky.
But nobody told your online presence that its flesh-and-bone counterpart was never coming back. So your user profile, your site, your pictures, in fact your entire cyber existence, carries right on as if nothing happened – you just tend not to post to your blog any more . Your friends and family are unlikely to know your passwords and can’t access your accounts to terminate them, so they are faced with the upsetting prospect of encountering cyber-you on the Web long after you have shuffled off this mortail coil. I still have occasion to log onto some of my late mother’s on-line services and it always gives me a queasy feeling to see the cheery “Hi Marita! Welcome back to XYZ!” message.
I have never given much thought to the problem of cyber-identities outliving their mortal counterparts. It is a bit like gazing up at a star and not knowing that the starlight may come from a star that exploded millions of years ago and no longer exisis. But I guess that as bloggers, it is something to which we should all give some thought. Here is the article that I read and which inspired this post – and I think it should be required reading for anyone who maintains any sort of on-line presence.