Jeff opens with why our discreet digital footprints matter. One status update might not be meaningful now, but in aggregate later when you don’t remember yourself (or when others don’t remember you) it will be more important. Social media is the new shoebox of family photos.
Remembering – Oz Sultan & Chris Bartlett
Remembrance in the Real Time Web – Oz Sultan (@ozsultan)
Oz says this is more somber and heartfelt than his typical panel appearance. He’s lost a lot of friends and family in the past year, and everyone has been memorialized in the social space. Previously remembrance was saying a eulogy, speaking in a “house of god, and setting words into stone.” Now, remembrance is a social phenomenon.
Serious loss is now crowd-sourced – you engage multiple platforms to find friends to reach out to you. Talking about your loss can help you find your friends – the people who can guide you through your grief. Speaking about the loss of Dorothy Height, another prevailing theme of the conference. Obituizing her on social networks is valid – it’s the chance for other people to react to her loss – even if they are getting to know her for the first time. People can do the same for your own family members and friends.
Talking about cancer and loss, touching on #blamedrewscancer. Seesmic team members wanted to go to the funeral of one of their online supporters who lost his battle with cancer. Again, grief is becoming more social – even bleeding from online back into the physical space.
The death of Neda Agha-Soltan as shared grief, but also a powerful rallying cry. “[That grief] was a valid feeling, and a valid feeling to look at democracy, death, and life differently.”
How is it different to memorialize people on a social network where they appeared the most? It’s tying a yellow ribbon to a tree, or leaving flowers by a grave. It’s a chance to congregate with people who cared about the one we lost.
“People are going to pass. It’s going to be a problem – you are going to have issues with that. This crowdsourced community we have – consider it your extended family.”
Social Networks for the Dead: The Gay History Wiki – Chris Bartlett (@harveymilk)
(This is a very abbreviated version of what I’ve seen/heard Chris do, and a lot of it was examples of people to remember.)
4,600 gay men died of AIDs in Philadelphia since 1981. Chris highlights other projects that recall those who had been lost (e.g., Aidsquilt), and then introduces the wiki. “We don’t think a web site for dead people should be pretty.”
It’s the democratization of history – let anyone add stories and history. For people who had passed before Google or the internet, it creates their life on the internet when they wouldn’t ever be heard from. The data on gay wiki helps you get a picture of how the epidemic changed our city. Why can’t we have social networks for the dead people we might have known? We should continue to tell their stories, and connect with those we have in common.