Today marks four years since the death of one of my high school friends. I noted the annual posts on his Facebook wall with reflections of older times, photographs of the flowers brought to his grave, and heartfelt messages: “I miss you.” When I went to visit his page I noticed some things that I had never really thought about before. His profile picture is the same as it was four years ago. He still goes to Sentinel High School. He still works for Community Medical Center. He still has the same 412 friends because he never left his hometown.
But none of that is true anymore and hasn’t been for four years.
It got me thinking about how unless someone has access to your account and makes the conscious decision to deactivate, you continue to “live” on Facebook. It has become another type of memorabilia of the deceased. Once we had pictures, home videos, and anecdotes of their glory years. Now we can see “what was on Taylor’s mind,” who he was hanging out with, and what he was listening to on Spotify.
Is Facebook slowly turning into an archive of the deceased?
My generation is one of the first to regularly use Facebook. Is this what happens when we die? Will our Facebook pages continue to be there, stewing on the back burner, anticipating that one day every year where our 412 friends to flood to our “say something” boxes with entries of remembrance until the fateful day comes when no one is left to “say something”?
Does the Internet keep part of us alive after we die? It’s something to think about.