Rest in Bytes

Rest in Bytes
In the wake if a digital death
What’s the spookiest thing that can happen during your social networking experience? Your private photos leaking out? Someone stealing your identity with a fake profile? Sending the right message to the wrong person? All quite hair-raising, but try this, opening the profile page of someone in your contacts who is not going to contact you again – not because they have left the internet, but because they have left the world.
Morbid, am i? Granted, death is not number one among topics thought of while typing out status messages on social networking accounts, but it is a concept worth exploring.
Would you still go ahead with announcing the thickness of the ketchup layer in your latest sandwich if you knew it was the last announcement you would ever make? On the other hand, if a friend made a similar pronouncement prior to his or her departure, how would you feel? It is strange to regard status messages as the stuff of a memory in the making, but if you don’t mind friends and family having the memory of such idiosyncrasies lingering with them, then there is no need to give it much thought.
Welcome to a whole new world. If we are among the first generations to live life on the web . While our forebears left behind letters and photo sharing accounts. We will be the first to die digital deaths. On the bright side, there’s no clutter. Your e-mails and e-cards are safely stashed away in your online vault, doing away with correspondence of the departed and cancelling their subscriptions. Your weekly e-diet newsletter will keep arriving in your inbox, oblivious to the fact that its subscriber is well beyond the help of the latest miraculous slimming gimmick. On the flip side, it is time to glance back at the prehistoric era of snail-mail, where the possibility
A date with death
Most people, when asked whether they would like to know the date of their death, reply with an emphatic “No”. Ignorance is bliss, after all. Who would want to have the burden of that knowledge haunt them for the rest of their living days?
A lot of people, apparently, as there is an entire website dedicated to this very purpose. As the name indicates, deathclock. Com lets you calculate how much time you have left in the world in an unscientific, just-for-fun way.
In the words of the webmaster; “The Death Clock uses a very simple way of figuring out how many seconds you have left to live. First it figures out how old you are [through the birth date you enter], then it takes that number and subtracts it from an average life span (one for men, one for women).It takes that number and then converts it into seconds.”
Truthfully, it is a bit spooky to see the final result, with the seconds ticking away as you stare at the screen. But it can even be ludicrous –the Death Clock candidly informed my friend that she had died fifteen years ago. The site also has a few tidbits sprinkled here and there in the form of celebrity obituaries, death quotes (you can submit some of your own if you want) and polls, All in all, this little exercise is, as the site proclaims, “the internet’s friendly reminder that life is slipping away.”
That people could die well before their letters reached their destination was very real. The electronic electronic counter part here is the send-at-a -later-date feature that e-cards and other services have. The nest time you appreciate the convenience of sending birthday wishes ahead of time, keep in mind that they really not “if I forget”;it’s “even if I die”!
In a physical death, a body is buried; in a digital death, a ghost is left behind. In the contacts lists of instant messaging services and social networking accounts or the members lists of online forums, there lurks a profile that will not be hundreds of profiles that belong to living people who have discontinued visiting a website without disabling their account there. Though these accounts essentially look the same, there is a difference-the same difference there is between a sweater nobody has worn for a long time and a sweater that used to belong to a loved one .Both look the same, but your feelings for each are different
The above discussion notwithstanding, the fact that we will all die someday has not taken the fun out of life; why should it take the fun out of the internet? You have just as much right to freak out over copying and pasting your password into your status lines as you did before. However, your online presence should be such that when it becomes your online absence, you have no regrets, about what you’ve left behind.


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