This note considers online 'afterlives' and belief systems.
It covers -
- the 'cyber memorial' (aka cyber cemetery or virtual
- faith and fantasy in the age of the telegraph, radio
- online psychics and other scams
- SMS astrology and other services, aka marketing mumbo
- anxieties about online and offline wiccans
- domain name exploitation, link harvesting and other
online appropriation of the dead
- questions about ownership of blogs, personal sites
and email after the death of the author.
supplements discussion elsewhere on this site regarding
social software, communities,
blogging and cybersuicide.
Canadian billionaire Roy Thomson
- famously described as "an animated cash register"
- was once asked by Nikita Khrushchev what good all the
loot would do him, since he couldn't take it with him.
Thomson replied "Then I'm not going".
We can sympathise with his reluctance to depart for realms
unknown but in practice people do not have a choice, contrary
to visions by transhumanists
and others of uploading consciousness to a server or surviving
in perpetuity (without incontinence aids or walking frames)
through use of nanotechnology.
emergence of the web has seen appearance of 'cybermemorials'
as virtual spaces for commemoration of the dead (human
and otherwise) and companionship among the bereaved.
It has seen colonisation by enthusiasts for 'alternative
realities', including people offering to predict the future
by email (who needs a crystal ball or the lines of fate
on a human hand when mediums can take payments over the
It has also posed questions for people wondering what
happens to their blogs, personal sites and webmail accounts
when they join Roy and Nikita.