Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Morbid blog post...

Ok... maybe that's a little too morbid... but you can click on it and see your own b'day "death report." Anyway, what I really wanted to touch on in this morbid post is ... social networking. Or something like that.

My topic of concern is this: how are we doing at taking care of our "stuff" should we wake up to find ourselves no longer alive (humor there; we'll either be in Heaven or not; make sure you're ready when that day comes!). For instance, were I to be hit by a bus this afternoon (not likely, since I'm sitting on my couch in my living room, but always a possibility, I suppose), how would you, my avid reader base (all three of you now, I think), know? Now, certainly, some of you would know, as one or two of my readers are people I know (primarily from church). But at least one of you really doesn't know me outside this blog (well, ok, a little outside this blog, from posts on other blogs, but you get the point: not outside this virtual world known as the internet). How will that person know that the author of [LAPSE... brain dead] is now a little [brain dead] himself? (But, rest assured, I'll be rejoicing in Heaven when I'm not here!) How many days, weeks, months will have to pass before you give up and figure there's no reason to return to this blog, and won't know whether I've gone into a witness protection program, or to Heaven, or just finally been disgusted with blogging, or whatever else might prevent my posting?

For instance, I have a friend, John Sibley, who lives (or at least lived) in Worcester, MA. He was the guy who ran the Bulletin Board System (BBS) on which the original "[LAPSE... brain dead]" appeared. For the year I was at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (in, believe it or not, Worcester, MA), John and I became good friends. He visited my dorm once or twice, bringing Duncan Donuts coffee (mmm, mmm good!), and once I visited his home, where we watched Wes Craven's Shocker and had a really good meal, including twice-baked potatoes (which put the cafeteria food to shame). It was his BBS that allowed me to communicate, via something later known as e-mail, with my aunt at UAB in Birmingham. Several years after leaving WPI, I ran across his e-mail address, and we eventually started an e-mail group known as LBD. However, he unfortunately has since dropped from, as near as I can tell, existence - he no longer contributes to the Team LBD folding @ home, his e-mail address is no longer valid, and I don't know any way to get in contact with him (John, if you're out there and reading this, give me a shout - my e-mail's in the upper left corner of my blog). I don't know anything about John's status at this point, and haven't for several years. Where is he? To what's he up? Is he still even kicking in MA? Get my point?

I need to make sure, for the sake of my "virtual friends," that someone - my wife, my brother, someone - knows how to log into my blog and post a departure letter. Or maybe figure out some way to post a timeout that will automatically inform the readership that something untoward has happened. (In the software industry, at least where I work, these are known as "watchdog timers" - timers that are set and, if all goes well, are reset before they time out; if they ever time out, then we know something's not working properly somewhere along the way.)

So, anyway, if you have your own blog (or other online, virtual community space of some kind or another), consider having some sort of plan in place for the unexpected. Just a courtesy to allow your readers to know what's going on when, well, nothing's going on.

Just some thoughts... didn't mean to be so morbid, but it's something worth considering, perhaps. I'll try to make a "nicer" post in the not too distant future...

6 comments:

amateur said...

Actually, I've thought along those lines myself. Hmm.

Carter said...

I would have no idea whether or not you'd be dead, I can tell you that much.

There was one friend I had back in high school, I guess you can safely say he was my BEST friend actually, where we were for intents and purposes UNSEPERABLE. We penned a trilogy of comedic science-fiction novels based on characters in our school, and we vowed we would not rest until they were published.

As soon as we graduated, he dropped off the face of the planet. I haven't heard from him since. His e-mail is no longer active, and the dude doesn't even have a MySpace or Facebook. I know he's not dead -- he attended a Jewish college in the States -- but I have nooo idea where he is.

Carter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tony M said...

Carter,

Thanks for the encouragement; I hope you're not offended by my deletion of your last comment, but I would appreciate it if you refrained from using foul language in your comments here. But please don't stop commenting! I think you're one of three readers I have... :)

I just have to think of the young and impressionable minds that may one day read this blog...

Cecily said...

Perhaps you could do what this army officer/blogger did.

You can read his final post here.

Tony M said...

That's nearly exactly of what I was speaking; figuring out a way (friend or otherwise) to have someone spread the info to those who otherwise would have no knowledge of the circumstances behind the sudden lack of communication.

I read - well, skimmed - the guy's final blog post; unfortunately, it seems he missed the mark as far as "afterlife" - if you're wondering yourself, make sure you're ready when your time comes. But I like his support of the military, and his request to support the military, regardless of whether or not you're in support of the war.

And I certainly like his request for consideration of his family - to keep things as low key as possible since they're already going through his death; they don't need additional reminders of it.

That being said, I likely won't refer to his final blog in a post of my own, other than in these comments.

But thanks for sharing - that's the idea exactly, more or less... one example of how to accomplish the concept I was trying to bring to light.