Originally posted on Medium 5/14/2013
Your network of friends on Facebook heavily determines the content you are fed. Though we take it for granted, who we interact with on Facebook can become a very important decision in one’s everyday life. Especially if you rely on the social networking site for important news, entertainment, and status updates. It seems strange to think about Facebook becoming part of, interacting, and changing what happens at the time of death. Personally, I have to ask the question, “how did it get to this point?” The point where something as virtual and non-real, such as Facebook, the internet, becomes so real that it permeates with the last and most important life event.
Maybe it’s the geographical network of the town I grew up in, or just the essence of Facebook that exposes me to the life events of people I don’t know through indirect contact with people I am friends with. The fact is, we all read the status updates of many more friends of friends than are actually in the friends list.
“Thank you all for your support. We are turning his Facebook page into a memorial” – 182 likes
I saw this post on Friday scrolling through the feed on my phone. Regardless of the fact that this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen a post like this, maybe I have just seen enough of them by now, but this time it resonated with me in a very different, more analytic way. I know why I even saw it in the first place, one of my “friends” on Facebook was one of those 182 likes, and now I had the opportunity to like this as well. I could even share or mention another person. Most importantly here, I could become involved in the memorial/death of someone I have never met while doing nothing more than tapping a two by three inch piece of glass.
It’s interactions like this that I don’t think many of us think about when using or even originally signing up for Facebook. By being involved in this online social community, we invite others who know nothing about us, or even that we exist, to interact with our most personal life events. That being stated, I’d be interested to see how many Facebook users actually care about this recently unexplored aspect of a social network.
As Facebook gets older, the timelines become longer, more detailed, and open a bigger window into the lives of it’s users. The pages of user driven data, journals, photos, personal information, likes, comments, and thoughts all permeate with one another creating a map of personal values. Upon death, the timeline ends with one post. Only possible when the profile page was available without the need for a password stored in a memory that is lost forever.
In a font-size of 13px, from now on, your last post is your memorial.