Virtual Tombstone

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Facebook Profiles as Living Tombstones

Recently when someone with a facebook profile passes away their wall functions as a digital homage to that person. People write present tense addresses to the deceased person in this public space, knowing full well that they have passed away and will not be looking at these messages. Tombstones can be difficult to reach in real life, and also expensive. A death on a social network affords a social tombstone that can allow people to browse pictures, look at their accomplishments/friends, write a homage to the person, and generally reminisce, without leaving their seat.

Virtual Funerals

Webcast funerals can reach more friends and relatives and reflect the fact that people are living more online.[1]

The companies and policies that will fill these spaces will take the forms of digital wills, but there may be other currently unknowable legal ramifications affecting this space. One idea is to entrust next of kin of child to the data, as in a trust or will. But does a daughter want to know that her father had a mistress? Or a wife for that matter? The idea of passing on sensitive information is not new, but some secrets are hidden even in real life.

The idea of data transparency after death is just other one of the questions that we must consider when attempting to construct the future manifestation of the public and private space. The life of the celebrity has been a public one, whereas the life of the Everyman has generally been a more private one. Suddenly, the ability to place any photo or event anywhere represents a slicing up of reality that allows any moment to be colonized and made longer lasting or purposeful. To save moments in this way makes life into something that resembles an actual sport with instant replays , slow motion and consequences for game play. While teams, outcomes and opponents are not always clear - one thing is- on a media centric world -the individual gets the power to play the roles that have been shown to him by television culture. While television culture was one-way in terms of viewing, commercials being one of the only things capable of allowing the viewer to insert the self in place of the advertised, new, personal technologies allow the self to produce their own experience.

Further Reading

External Links

By Jacqui Cheng | Last updated March 2010 ago


  1. For Funerals Too Far, Mourners Gather on the Web