This post is going to be morbid. Just warning you up front.
I was poking around on Facebook and noticed the phrase “View Sent Requests.” I clicked on it and saw the list of people I had requested to be friends with who had not yet responded. As I read through the list of about twelve names, I discovered why some hadn’t responded.
They were dead.
Some had died recently. Others a few years ago.
I got curious. I wondered how many of my 948 friends were actually still alive? It took a little time, but I scrolled through the whole list. I had no idea who some of those people were. A few had duplicate entries. One was a closed restaurant? But another ten were dead. Some had been dead for years, but their page was still active. People were still wishing them a happy birthday. They hadn’t gotten the memo.
Isn’t that interesting? In the analog world they’re mortal. They’ve passed. I’ve been to some of their funerals. I’ve done some of their funerals.
In a digital sense, they still exist and they are still my friends. They have achieved a sort of immortality.
There is a whole underworld of Facebook users out there.
They were all dead.
I noticed that I had almost nine hundred friends on Facebook. I know many have more than that. I also know that I don’t follow the lives of that many people. I probably see the updates of about ten percent. On a whim, I decided to scroll through all those I counted as my “friends.”
Some I didn’t even know. <unfriend> Some people showed up three or four times. Restarts or hacks. <unfriend> But then, someone came up who died last year. Another from a few years ago. Twelve deceased among my “friends.” <unfriend>
A few thoughts about that:
- When you die, your online self lives on. It’s kind of like eternal life, but not really. I’ll bet when you die, a lot of folks don’t even know you’re gone. They still send you birthday greetings.
- Some of the deceased were actually better friends than those still alive. I’ve stopped following more than a few living friends because I couldn’t stand to see what they posted, they never posted, or they posted too many times a day.
- In a strange, macabre way, I wish my dead friends could post something. Wouldn’t that be awesome. Tell me a little about heaven. Or hell.
- I’ll bet you can create a bot that will post for you after you die, so that most don’t even know you are gone. The bot will create status updates, share photos, and send birthday greetings. You could be immortal if you planned it right.
- Or, I could begin my posts with the caveat that I am dead, and communicating from heaven (or hell). Some people would believe it. And that would be awesome. Y’all want to hear from the beyond. I’d be happy to oblige.
Hey, you don’t even know if this is me or a bot. Mind-bending, isn’t it? Good name for a blog: “Blogging from the beyond.”