Monday, April 28, 2008

Cyber-afterlife and

So, more on this topic since it seems to have sparked some interest in my previous post. First, MySpace's policy on death: There essentially is no official policy. However, if a member dies and a family member requests to have their page removed, MySpace will comply. Otherwise, the page remains as either an eerie or loving tribute—depending on how you view the matter.

Second, I've been reading a little about a MySpace-piggyback website called (Salon wrote a pretty comprehensive article about them last July.) The site finds on its own and has members submit news stories that relate the deaths of people with MySpace pages. They then post a photo and brief details of that person's death, sorted by a map feature. Each death is marked by a cartoonish little figure of a ghoul, or something like that. (The red figures represent people charged with murder). People can leave comments on or link directly to the person's MySpace page. You might also check out the forums if you're interested. In it, people will go over specific deaths, trying to piece together all of the details they can find—photos from MySpace and online searches, newspaper articles, etc. They seem genuinely interested in finding out all of the details they can about a person's death, although I'm not sure to what end.

If you thought it was strange going to a deceased stranger's MySpace page randomly, linking through this site will make your stomach bottom out. I have to say, I'm pretty comfortable talking about death, but looking at this site and just absorbing how ambivalent it is about the deaths of all of these people, it really does make me a little physically ill.

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