I actually wrote this blog a couple of weeks ago and have been debating on whether or not to share it.  I think it makes a good point, though, so I ultimately decided to share.  I do apologize for the dark tone.

Be forewarned, this blog post may get a little…maudlin.  And/or morbid.  But I just watched “The Fault in Our Stars,” and I’m feeling, well, ravaged.  After the movie went off and I had mopped up my face, I went on Facebook for a little cheering up…only to see that a friend had posted a status about the passing of someone she knew.  She had posted the comment on this friend’s wall, which led me to wonder a bit more strongly about something I’ve previously considered but quickly dismissed before this one particular thought could take hold:

Eventually, Facebook is going to become a graveyard — profiles will serve as virtual tombstones of the dead, giving more than the brief glimpse of life usually found etched in cemetery granite.  People share their lives on Facebook, chronicling every triumph and despair and all the mundane events that happen in between.  For many of us, the time we have logged on social media is part of our legacy; it’s the epitaph that wouldn’t fit on a slab of stone, a journal left open to the last page, a novel cut off midsentence.  It’s the epitome of a tomorrow that is expected but unpromised. These pages that we have cultivated over weeks, months, years will stand as tribute to our lives – our actual lived-in lives and not the pretty tales painted by well-meaning words of friends and strangers alike.

So the question inevitably comes… What will happen to these memorials?  Do these pages just stand idly by, receiving appeal after appeal to play Farmville or Candy Crush Saga?  Do friend requests still come from old friends who have been out of touch for years and are belatedly attempting to reconnect?  Do mass-invites to group events simply go without RSVP?  Unless we have shared our password (or it’s one a five-year old could guess) or left our computers logged in, then our Facebook pages will forever remain as they were the last time we obsessively checked them.  Friends and family will write on our walls, sharing memories and information, but our virtual histories will be static and unchanged, for better or for worse.  Eventually, though, activity will dwindle away as Facebook ebbs and flows around these silent pages.  Will Facebook eventually delete these accounts due to inactivity?

Will I ever again watch a movie that spurs me to depress everyone who reads this blog?  Hopefully not, but who knows.


4 thoughts on “Tombstones

  1. You’ve come across an important topic, one that has already been getting some media and scholarly attention. Just letting you know that there’s some writing out there about this, if you are interested.


  2. I hadn’t really thought about this before, but you are right. I know a couple of people who passed away prematurely who still have Facebook pages maintained by a close friend or relative like a memorial.

    On a less sad note, I wonder if we will have digital ghost stories and haunted profiles someday. Some say on a quiet moonless night you can still hear the “click click clack” of their keyboards…


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