Death on the Internet

So, that was jarring.

I was all set to write a silly post about a mix tape I found in the car over the weekend (I'll still write about that later, don't worry), when I hopped on Facebook for a moment. I scrolled through the likes and the pictures and the gobbledygook and then I noticed a birthday reminder had popped up on my right rail.

A little over a month ago, a college friend of mine took her own life. She had been one of the very first people I met when my parents kicked me out of the car in Indianapolis. I still remember her walking into our classroom (remedial music theory), laughing and talking like she owned the place, despite being a freshman just like me. I took note of her immediately. I could tell at a glance that this girl was SOMEONE.

For some reason, she wanted to be my friend.

And today is her birthday.

As time marches on, I guess the deaths of our friends on the Internet is something we're all going to have to start dealing with more and more. Right now I don't have many ghost Facebook friends, so mortality is not slapping me in the face on a daily basis. But if Facebook sticks around for the next sixty years, and if you're ninety-four-years-old sitting there in an arm chair with your support-stockinged feet up on a hassock scrolling through the little computer chip that has been implanted in your eyeball by that point, chances are most of the people you've ever known will be dead and the people popping up in your right rail may have been long since deceased.

Depressing, I know. It's life.

Kim Dale wrote last month about living folks tweeting from dead folks' accounts. This is a bit different, but as people die in real life, their existence on the internet remains in tact. It's kind of morbid, but also really nice, actually. After my friend died, the people who loved and cared about her met up on her Facebook page to post pictures and memories. Those are there forever now, as long as Facebook doesn't deactivate her account or go the way of Friendster.

And I find that less depressing.

So, Happy Birthday, T! You are missed.

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