It took many months, but one of my few Twitter followers was removed not for trying to take the nation by force, but because he’d died. If I learn to tweet from beyond perhaps I’ll score a few more followers. The situation, however, is one of the oddities of our socially mediated world. I was trying to find some information on a potential author the other day and the only online presence I could locate was LinkedIn. I clicked on the profile only to see the latest update was “Deceased.” More than that, the Experience column indicated that “Deceased” continued from the date of passing up to the present. I guess once you’re gone, your gone for good. Social media, however, will perhaps find a way to keep you alive.
When I’m gone, I imagine WordPress will shut this blog down because nobody will be paying for it. It’ll probably take a while for Facebook or Twitter to figure out I’m in the new category of “deceased.” I do hope Academia.edu will keep my downloaded papers there for free. Real immortality, it seems to me, lies in the writing of books. They too will eventually disappear, and who knows about the real longevity of social media. It’s pretty difficult to believe Facebook wasn’t even around at the turn of the millennium. I drive a car that’s older than Facebook. I keep thinking of LinkedIn listing “Deceased” as a vocation. Isn’t it really the ultimate vocation for all of us? If you can’t be found online, do your really exist at all?
While experts debate social media, my job prevents me from using Facebook or Twitter during the day. After work I’m anxious to get on to the other things in life that virtual friends and followers have to wait. Early in the mornings I write and research. I have mere minutes a day to look over social media. I check Facebook only for alerts. Life is short. Is social media making it better? It’s easy enough to be overlooked in real life, so why indulge in it virtually as well? Of course, many see social media as a place to vent their spleen. Why not try to inject some good into the virtual world instead? There is hope for the dead, for they may still publish. Their tweets may become somewhat less frequent. Only the most callous, however, would drop them as friends for being dead. Let’s just wait for Zuckerberg or Musk to notice. It may take a few months.