Today I received a notice that a former Metblogs writer had passed away. He was a writer back in 2007- way before I started writing for them. I told the mother ship that I’d write a small post about his passing and I just started thinking about this guy I don’t know yet I know everything about.
In the age of websites, blogs, and Facebook, I was able to find everything about him. It was weird and creepy to be reading the Facebook wall of a person that was deceased. There were status messages about him cooking dinner and exchanges with his friends- now the top of the feed has messages of prayers, all following a message from his sister that said he was in the hospital.
Not only did this man leave behind friends and family, but he also leaves behind a footprint that is still fresh in the earth of The Internet. Thinking about me as a blogger and all of the other bloggers out there- we will all leave similar footprints when we leave as well. We will all leave incomplete posts and unmoderated comments in the queue and Facebook requests that will go unanswered. Much like the physical items, there is an online presence that we create as long as we walk The Earth.
I think of Randy Pausch and the words and images he’s left behind. His famous speech is now immortalized on video and in print. His online legacy will be slow to fade- but we may not be so lucky. The Internet can keep you alive forever, but it can also make you disappear in an instant. As time goes by pages will close and profiles will be deleted.
When I first heard of this news I also thought of a blog post I read last summer. Herb of DC, pondered what would happen to his blog if he died. I remember thinking how I often schedule posts ahead of time- writing them all out over a weekend afternoon. It could be possible that this blog would be alive for a few days longer than me.
Some somber thoughts to think about, how our lives and our legacies have changed with the advent of social media.
Update: Looks like Time Magazine decided to answer the question themselves.