Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, June 22, 2009

I've been calling my mother every Sunday night at 9pm for probably the past ten years. A couple weekends back when I was Normandy, I lost track of the day, as you often do when you're on vacation, and forgot to call. What followed was a series of increasingly frantic emails on her part, wondering where on Earth I was. It started off with "Samantha, it's after 9, are you going to call?" to "It's getting late now...just wondering where you are..." to "What's going on? Has something happened??" etc etc. My poor mother, being the uber-worrier that she is, didn't sleep a wink that night.

When I finally talked to her the next day, I got a five-minute long lecture about how important it is for me to keep in touch with her, and how I need to give her the email address & phone number of one of my friends here. But she makes a good point - before, if anything happened, Fabrice would've told her immediately. But now that I'm single - who would inform her in case of an accident (or worse)? With the way my job is and how much I travel, I could easily be gone a week or even two before anyone would even know something was wrong. Though thanks to social media, I would hope some of you would notice the lack of posting on here, FB, etc. But even then - how would anyone be able to contact my family since none of my family & friends from back home even know about the existence of this blog?

Which reminds me of another interesting topic that came up in conversation lately - what happens to all of these various accounts we have when we die? Your Facebook/myspace page, Twitter, email accounts, etc. It's kind of eery to think about continuing on virtually even after you're no longer here. People could keep emailing you or posting on your wall and have no clue - they'd just think you were a jerk for not ever writing back.

I did some searching around online and found out that Facebook recently came up with a "deceased" notification form, which allows you to contact them in the case of a death of someone on your list. Their page will stay active, but will be visible only to friends and will no longer show up in searches, making it essentially a virtual memorial. Kinda cool, huh? Imagine if back in 2003, someone had told the inventors of Facebook that they would one day need a page for deceased people - I imagine it's a similar reaction to what I would've had if someone would've told me I'd still be living in France in 2009. Still, it's interesting to think about how all of these new social media and social networking sites are changing the way we keep track of people from the cradle to the grave.


Blogger Sleepless In KL said...

funny you should blog about this FB thing. i did think about what would happen to my FB account when i die. i even went to the extent of leaving my passwords in a will so that my mom can inform my friends i'm no longer around hahaha! hey, we'll all die at some point, what? :)


June 22, 2009 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Jennie said...

It is very surreal to see people's FB and Myspace accounts online when you know they are gone. My former French professor still has both accounts online, and I always feel a bit strange when I see him on my friends lists. It's like he's still here, but I know he's not. still fascinates me in a weird and disturbing way.

June 22, 2009 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Zoë said...

A very good friend of mine committed suicide in March. He was never on Facebook, but did have a Friendster profile from ages ago. I've found myself taking a look at it periodically, simultaneously liking/disliking that it's there. Because it was created several years ago and rarely updated it's a little strange to see. And I've been wishing he had had a Facebook account, just to be able to look at something a little more up-to-date!

June 22, 2009 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Starman said...

I had a similar situation with Open Diary. One of my favorites died and it wasn't until one of his friends wrote a short notice of his death that anyone knew he was gone. Most email accounts are deleted if they're not used for a certain period of time. That time period varies from one account to another.

June 22, 2009 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger wcs said...

And beyond!

June 23, 2009 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Animesh said...

There is the notion of an "in case of emergency" number on cellphones. That might be relevant.

Regarding online accounts, there indeed is the notion of leaving them to someone in your will.

But don't worry, your twitter followers will follow you anywhere, even into afterlife :-)

June 23, 2009 at 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yah, my little brother passed away a couple of years ago and I was really sad to find that his MySpace page had been removed a few months after his death. I guess his wife probably did it but it would have been cool to keep it up as a memorial.

June 23, 2009 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Frogmae said...

I also already thought about how would all my contacts know when I die... Should I let passwords in a will? lol
It is kind of funny to think that we could virtually keep living... or not... weird talk...

June 24, 2009 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger Mouse said...

I daresay that after a short time someone will hack in and steal your identity
Or is this job just making me too cynical?

"In CyberSpace No-One Sees You Die?"

PS as a mother I have to say it
it's our family motto

June 25, 2009 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Animesh said...

NPR talked about this very topic some time ago. Here is the link.

June 25, 2009 at 11:22 AM  

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