Diaries of the Dead – a Forgotten Babylon

Last week, I read Suite Francaise, by the daughter of a Russian Jewish Banker, Irene Nemirovsky. The family fled Russia to France but unfortunately Irene, now a famous French novelist and her husband died in the concentration camps. I loved the books – ironically gentler to the marauding Germans than to the French social system – but only two were completed before she was taken away. It felt a little macabre reading a book with sweet humour and soft romance knowing what was about to happen to the author. She knew what was coming too and wrote frantically to try and complete something before the inevitable descended. A light pleasant read, if you didn’t know the author’s story. But now you do.

Reminds me of the Diary of Anne Frank and others. But what role will Blogs play in this? As ‘books’ of the dead? I was told yesterday of a guy who blogged something like ‘dammit, my sister’s boyfriend is here, I hate that guy, I better go let him in’. And went downstairs and was murdered. The sister’s boyfriend was convicted on the basis of that blog entry. (Well I’m sure there was more evidence but you know what I mean).

Over at MapRoomSystems they have a bloglet on One day, the blogs of the dead will outnumber the living. A woman had a strange dream, blogged about it, and was taken shortly after by an alligator. There’s quite a few stories like this. Its still early days but blog graveyards will be numerous in a few years. I wonder if I can buy insurance yet, to have my blog archived and memorialised if anything – God forbid – should happen to me?

What was that movie where the guy had a video funeral parlour and something about the mob? It was black humour, the best. So I was thinking, we could have DeathTV streamed to our mobile phone. Tagline “Live on your mobile, Death on your mobile”. Or something. User generated content from the no longer living? Webcams from beyond the grave? Who owns the copyright of blogs, moblogs, vlogs, once they are uploaded and the owner ascends to heaven? Tagline “Don’t miss the chance to read the blog of the those now at peace, view the family mourning, Reality TV never got more Real” A mash up with a guest book for condolences, people uploading their fave fotos and vids of the dearly departed and words of wisdom, priests offering counselling online, all in one community. There’s a role in online communities for tribal rituals around death and marriage (ask any online roleplaying gamer) and its an important part of building a sturdy community, but surely this is too far? I have seen the future and it ain’t all pretty.

On the offchance that art imitates life imitates art imitates death, and I pop my clogs in the near future, please tell Blogspot to LEAVE MY BLOG EXACTLY WHERE IT IS. It is my legacy (along with a nice DVD collection, my Uggies and not much more), by this thee will remember me.

My Grandmother passed this time last year. She left no trail on the ‘net, only in our hearts. But I suspect she will be the last generation to depart so cleanly and simply. From now on, shards and fragments will be uncovered by Google and Son of Google, whole new archaelogy departments devoted to bits and bytes not bits of plates and books will start up.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert.
Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Will our pixel monuments stand the test of time any better than stone and clay? I think not.
I’ve depressed myself now, think I’ll go for a walk in the Sydney drizzle. But let me leave you with one parting shot – Ozymandias, my friend, what will you leave behind? Look on my blog, ye mighty, and despair! Or something.

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Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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