Find Graves and Avoid the Virtual Cemetery
The internet is a strange place. Still in its infancy, the world wide web likens more to the wild wild west when it comes to the lack of rules and regulation. Some contend that the internet, like freedom, should be unfettered by corporate regulators. This might be preferable in most cases. But when it comes to virtual identities, a lack of protection may be putting our reputations at risk.
Do you know anyone who died within the last decade? If so, there is a high likelihood that this person (who we’ll call “John Doe”) had a social profile on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and so forth. Each social platform tells a different story of John Doe. Depending on his social behavior and interactive usage, it is likely that a stranger could form a picture of this man without ever personally knowing him. Yet, you can’t truly know someone until you’ve met them in person.
Online deaths thus present a distorted summation of one’s existence. Since anyone with a computer can influence John Doe’s legacy through social network commenting, hacking or other malicious behavior, it’s scary to think that his legacy might be different in the future. Or worse, John Doe may be deleted from the inter-webs without his consent. The reason this is critical is because today our lives are increasingly being lived digitally. This is a fact which cannot be ignored. And with that comes the knowledge that soon our virtual graves could eventually be universally accessed and memorialized more so than our physical graves.
Have you ever tried to find a grave online? The cemetery business has already started to adapt to this virtual reality as virtual cemeteries grow in popularity. Online cemetery companies like Find A Grave and BillionGraves recently released mobile apps which ironically offer a solution to this virtual uncertainty. Anyone who purchases the app from the iTunes App Store can upload photos of headstones at local cemeteries and contribute to an extensive databank of records that can be accessed by anyone. This allows you to find a grave from around the world with a simple search. You can even honor celebrities by seeing an image of their actual resting place. So instead of recreating a pixel-inspired virtual cemetery universe, Find A Grave and BillionGraves instead project real-life graves for anyone to appreciate the true-to-life humans that are buried beneath. Hopefully, this helps buck the trend of the virtual cemetery.