I come from an era of typewriters and postal mail. I remember a time when we had a yellow telephone hanging on the wall in the kitchen. Under the telephone was a yellow chair sporting a pull-out step stool. Eventually, we upgraded to an extra-long handset cord, it had to be 15 feet long. The yellow chair somehow found a big tear right in the middle. If we wanted to communicate, it was analog. When I was a kid, radios had a dial, digital displays were just starting to come out. Low-cost TV’s were black and white and had a mechanical dial that made a click that you could feel.
Nowadays, life is virtually recorded. Random phone calls to see how someone is doing, say hi, or even discuss a business matter are now mostly scheduled. Unrecognized out of area numbers are rarely answered, becoming obsolete because of all the robocalls and telemarketers. Most of life plays out, whether in public or private, electronically. Even our locations are being recorded by Google and other apps, where we go, how long we stay. The in’s and out’s of our daily life are being recorded, preserved, in a way we never imagined possible.
Being dead on social media
Fascinating, because our descendants will be able to learn and build upon their ancestors’ knowledge and experiences like never before possible. With artificial intelligence, it will soon be possible to completely reconstruct someone’s life by cataloging and analyzing their electronic footprint, pictures, recordings, records.
I believe everyone we interact with throughout our lives exchanges something that mutually builds and changes the character of the other. We learn from each other, mold different aspects of each other. And when our friends and family die, with our new electronic world, they continue to live on and remind us of who they were. It’s not just the portrait on the wall, but social media reminding us of our ‘friendiversary,’ or making a nice video of everything we’ve done together.
Our social media legacy
Thirty years ago, it would take a picture on the wall, a family gathering looking through old photo albums, or running across a long lost handwritten letter, to remind us of those who left us. Today, we are reminded daily… Facebook is always there to make sure we know about their birthday, when we became Facebook friends, or that we haven’t talked in a while.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this new seemingly constant reminder of our dead family and friends. I currently have about 320 Facebook friends, 5 are dead. My current dead Facebook friend ratio (DFFR) is 1 to 64… or 1.6% dead Facebook friend count (DFFC). I’m still trying to decide if legacy facebook friends are creepy or a blessing. I think I like it, but hope my DFFC doesn’t get much higher!!
What it means for me
Lots of folks use social media to spread meaningless banter that does little other than piss off others. Sharing that sarcastic meme targeting the opposite team doesn’t help anyone. I try to use my social media only to post positive or productive messages. When I’m dead, and someone goes through my timeline and I’m part of their 1.6%, I want them to feel positive, happy.