Monday, July 20, 2015

to unfriend or not the dead and gone

Here's something I've thought about as friends and acquaintances die with whom I have some type of social media connection. Do you unfriend them once they are dead or go out of your life (perhaps you move or your kid passes into another school?) Is that seen by yourself or others as cruel? Do you keep them, and why, and for how long? I know a lot of people who remember their dead relatives birthdays and the anniversaries of their deaths and marriages online and/or at the cemetery. I was not brought up to do that, so I don't do it,  and I see no value in doing it either in person or online. For me, graveyards are where the remains are, not the spirit, which I hope, with my faith, to meet again. If visiting/remembering in person or online works for some people, great, but it doesn't work for me, not at all.  Sometimes, from what I observe, it only makes people more upset instead of bringing them a sense of peace. I assume they are looking for peace, but maybe they aren't. I'd go for the peace.

Here's an article called My Digital Cemetery by Rob Walker of the New York Times. He talks about certain dead people and those far away that he will never interact with again and that he cannot, or doesn't wish to, delete their phone # or unfriend their social media connection and why. This is thought provoking. Do you keep them because it doesn't appear to cost anything and you feel you will be considered cruel? If you had to keep them in paper or other format, would you? Why is their phone # or link to you via social media so important? If you had a favorite plumber where you lived 20 years ago, why do you still have his/her phone #? Are you just a digital hoarder? Is that what this is all about? You couldn't erase it in a note book and you can't delete it either on your phone? Why isn't the memory of your interaction with them sufficient? To me social media connections are peripheral at best. How do they compare to real interactions, hugs, sharing a meal, or a fun or sad event in person? Not at all in my opinion. Maybe I am too old to appreciate the dilemma of this (is it a dilemma or just stupid? ) or maybe I was brought up by people who placed more value in human interaction rather than digital. I think its the latter not the former. Anyway, an interesting thought to consider. I think these people are hoarders. I wonder if they ever get rid of anything. I'm not a hoarder either, can you tell? As soon as my kid graduates to another school I delete all the old school #s. I can't wait to clean up my phone and make some space. I periodically clean it out of old photos and stupid games my kid has added to it. Anyway... Read the article here http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/opinion/sunday/my-digital-cemetery.html?ref=technology

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