Over the last couple of years I have seen this happen a few times. I was reminded of it again a week ago when I saw a friend shoot out a Tweet about a blogger who had passed away and how devastated he was to find this out.
As someone who grew up in the 80’s I never fully imagined how advanced technology would be when I was 40 years old. The leaps and bounds by which technology has advanced in the last 20 years is mind-blowing. We can instantly talk with folks around the world in a heartbeat. I can text, instant message, direct message or shoot an e-mail to anyone anywhere at anytime. Today I can click on Skype on my computer or my cell phone and carry on a conversation as if the person is standing right next to me. It feels like something out of the Jetsons.
I’ve never really considered myself a tech geek, but I guess you could call me one. I absolutely enjoy technology and desire all the latest gadgets. I use Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare and have been blogging for a couple of years. I can maneuver my way through all of this fairly quickly.
I remember back when AOL was king. I met a guy on a chat board for Promise Keepers and began exchanging e-mails. That was 12 years ago. Over the years we have used social media as a way in which we have grown closer and have a solid friendship. The crazy part – we have never met each other face to face. He lives across the country in Ohio. We continue talking about when we are going to actually meet in person one day. I enjoy how our friendship has developed and consider him a dear friend and brother.
Over the last couple of years my abilities to connect with others through social media has significantly increased. I have over 40 people who I interact with on a regular basis through various means such as Twitter, Facebook and Skyping as well as e-mails, phone calls and texting. These are people I consider friends and greatly care about. My life is richer and fuller knowing them and they are all people I met through social media.
In light of seeing my friend shoot out his Tweet and with the crazy and unpredictable weather, it has me thinking. As we build relationships like this, what happens when we do die? How will folks know? How long will it take before people realize you are no longer updating your status? How will others find out? I would venture to say the longer you use social media and build on these relationship, you will be connected in ways you didn’t imagine. Unlike real life where we usually attend funerals and celebrate the life of the person who has passed away, what happens in the online world when you’ve tweeted your last tweet or posted your last post? How will your life be celebrated? Who will notify others of your passing?
While this is not meant to be morbid, death is a real part of life. Have you thought about this? How would you want others to know you were gone, have you made plans for that to happen?