Sunday, July 29, 2007

Virtual Graveyard

This is a very poetic AP story.
Somewhere deep in cyberspace, where reality blurs into fiction and the living greet the dead, there are ghosts.

They live in a virtual graveyard without tombstones or flowers. They drift among the shadows of the people they used to be, and the pieces they left behind.

Allison Bauer left rainbows: Reds, yellows and blues, festooned across her MySpace profile in a collage of color. Before her corpse was pulled from the depths of an Oregon gorge on May 9, where police say she leapt to her death, she unwittingly wrote her own epitaph.

``I love color, Pure Color in rainbow form, And I love My friends,'' the 20-year-old wrote under ``Interests'' on her profile. ``And I love to Love, I care about everyone so much you have no idea.''

Now her page fills a plot on, a Web site that archives the pages of deceased MySpace members.

Behold a community spawned from twin American obsessions: Memorializing the dead and peering into strangers' lives. Anyone with Internet access can submit a death to the site, which currently lists nearly 2,700 deaths and receives more than 100,000 hits per day.

The tales are mostly those of the very young who died prematurely. Here, death roams cyberspace in all its spectral forms: senseless and indiscriminate, sometimes premeditated, often brutally graphic. It's also a place where the living - those who knew the deceased and those who didn't - discuss this world and the next.
Unfortunately, the actual MyDeathSpace site is much less poetic than the AP story. Allison's MyDeathSpace page is not reproduced on MyDeathSpace. I don't even see a pointer to it. Also, MyDeathSpace has lots of ads that make it look more like a commercial site than a "virtual graveyard." It's too bad because it's an interesting idea — and apparently quite successful. Meghan Barr, the AP writer, seems to get it better than the MyDeathSpace owners. Here's a Google search for her AP articles.

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