Saturday, 22 May 2010

Day 142, on which John talks about death and Facebook [22.5.10]

Dag hundrede og toogfyrre. We've got a bit of a philosophical post today as I try to manipulate the annoying challenge of writing a post about a website for 20 days. I think, to change the topic slightly, I can safely say summer has arrived in England. And jeez is it hot. Then again, what else can you expect from summer? Rain and snow? Nope. It's blazing hot sunny weather for the next four months. Now look, I'm no grumpy old person who hates the sun. I'm no vampire. But if you asked me "John, would you rather if it were really hot or really cold?", I'd say the latter. Court adjourned.

OK, I spotted this article on BBC Technology this morning. It's about how death is treated with on the internet, specifically Facebook and MySpace. It talks about people leaving legacies of data all over the internet, and whether this is good or not considering people are joining the internet all the time and it could get clogged up.

At the moment, MySpace won't let anyone log onto a dead person's account to delete their stuff. And with good reason: it's against the dead person's privacy. But there is still the problem of data building up. What about me? I have data and accounts all over the internet. All social networking sites and sites with services assume the person is still active on their accounts. What happens if they aren't? What if someone sends you a FM and you're not there to reply? Flickr doesn't know you're inactive (so to speak).

So how can we fix this problem? Well, Facebook's one step ahead of MySpace at that. They have a 'memorialization' feature (or something like that) which families of someone who's died can apply to Facebook for and the account will be closed to new Wall posts and messages. But it still doesn't fix the problem of data building up!

It seems that this is a debate that will go on for a long time. Ultimately, it will come down to what the dead person would have wanted, and that's where the subject gets a little tricky and sensitive. So what would I like people to do with my data? I'd like them to keep it, for one. Should they be able to log onto my Facebook? Of course, I won't be there to stop them. But I would want all my data to stay up there. This blog, my other blogs, my Flickr... because after a while, especially on the internet, dead people are forgotten if their data is deleted. And I'd want to be remembered.

Sorry if that topic was a little sensitive to some of you... it was a bit for me too, to be honest.

Oh oh oh oh! My Moleskine arrived! Here he is. I'm still searching for a name for him... for some reason Florian keeps coming to my mind. So comment with a better name or else I'll call it Florian! And yeah, i haven't taken the purple cover off yet. Seems to precious. Eventually I won't have the "OMG shiny and new don't touch" feeling about it, and I can start to write - or draw - freely in it.


ps. Song du jour is I put a Spell on You by Nina Simone.

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