Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tacky Social Networking Options Available for Recently Deceased

Now that I have finally heard it all, I can die peacefully in my sleep.

And if I did, there's no reason I have to stop doing social networking (like Twitter, Facebook, or blogging). Because some enterprising weirdos entrepreneurs have made it possible for friends and family to reach me online.

According to a story in the Maryland Daily Record, there are a number of new companies that are offering things like virtual cemeteries. There are others that offer email alerts from funeral homes that will remind my surviving relatives of the anniversary of my death.

(Problem #1 - I would hope my death would be memorable enough that my family would not need a reminder. Problem #2 - Every computer-based calendar can repeat dates like birthdays or death days – for free – with a simple mouse-click. Problem #3 - If my family ever wastes money on this, I'm haunting the bejeezus out of them.)

There are even companies like You'veBeenLeftBehind.com (official motto: "Neener neener neener") that will email your left-behind relatives who are in danger of being left behind even farther when the Rapture takes you away. Their website says:
We have set up a system to send documents by the email, to the addresses you provide, 6 days after the "Rapture" of the Church. This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system.

This strikes me as a rather amateurish venture. Real computer programmers would have already coded in a The Rapture Has Occurred button into the user interface, which would eliminate the need for the fail safe. Besides, something tells me that when the Rapture does occur, checking email is going to be the last thing on everyone's minds.

"Hmm, I wonder if my deceased relative is trying to email me from beyond the grave. Hey, where'd everybody go?"

"People have a desire to perpetuate not only for themselves, but for their loved ones, the story of their lives, and technology has all these new great ways of doing that," John McQueen, owner of the Anderson McQueen funeral home, told the Daily Record.

EternalSpace.com is an online memory-gathering site for grieving family and friends, with a number of different online scenic locations for your final stop on this mortal coil, including a Zen garden, view of a lake, a tropical valley, a forest in autumn, or a cabin in the winter woods.

As an added bonus, EternalSpace.com says their "100% advertising free." That's comforting, since I don't know that I would want my virtual tombstone to blast "Five. Five dollar. Five dollar foot lo-o-o-o-ngs!" every time anyone visited me online.

Visitors can leave behind virtual flowers, virtual religious symbols, virtual gifts, and virtual tchotchkes, like golf clubs, a football helmet, or horse saddle that virtually everyone already leaves behind at real cemeteries, but without all the hassle of dressing up and actually visiting the deceased loved one.

Because nothing says a deep unabiding love for family like a recurring $14.95 per month charge on your credit card.

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