The first post – and straight to the last rites…
It’s well over 10 years now since I’ve been part of online communities of one sort or another. Support, discussion, campaign, “special interest”… Some of the cheery older souls I’ve known are in their 70s now. One or two may even have died. In fact, statistically, quite a few must have.
But these are still early days for this end of the market. Logging on and popping off is only going to get more popular, inevitably (in the most literal sense of the word). Many of the departed have already publicly documented their decline and demise, of course – in some cases movingly and memorably (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4211475.stm).
Blogging off into the sunset has so far only been open to those who have a bit of notice: perhaps tragically young, perhaps angry, always compelling. What of the rest of us, declining at a greater or lesser rate? What protocols will evolve as an ageing generation taps ever more slowly at the keyboard, arthritic knuckles creaking away? Will it be good form to breezily claim spritely vigour, in defiance of all physical evidence? Or will it be polite to gradually warm up your network to the reality of your imminent cooling down? (Getting honest about things – which, if this site has a theme at all, could become a recurring feature here.)
And just getting the message out to those networks, particularly if it’s all a bit sudden… Will wills routinely feature a few choice URLs, or even ids and passwords? (I am reminded of the death of a friend recently: the family, doing their best to contact friends, went through the address book sending blank emails with funeral directions attached. From the deceased. That was interesting.) Has the first enterprising intermediary already set up shop? I note that www.ifyourereadingthis.com already has an owner.
We don’t know. But we’re definitely going to find out.