Dave Winer sometimes writes about death. His uncle, his father, the recently departed Aaron Swartz… his memorial posts for these people were poignant and honest reflections. I am sure that over the years he has written other remembrances but those are the ones I recall. I also remember Dave musing about what happens to a blogger’s online legacy when s/he dies. Might there not be an archive for the work of those who’ve passed away? Perhaps there’s an entrepreneurial opportunity there, but it seems like a depressing way to make a living.
My link clean-up project provides stark reminders of the passing of people I once admired, people I may have been close to or only knew at a distance. Deleting links seems so final. It’s easier to let go of a link that itself has rotted, an URL that has been returned to ICANN, than it is to delete the link of a person now deceased whose work remains online. But I’m doing it. Michelle “Mandarin Meg” Goodrich is gone and so is her website. Her link has been removed from my list. I think one of the reasons I’m having a hard time letting go of these links is the opportunity for reminiscence they provide–memories of good times and good conversations, deep thoughts or hilarious moments. Here are the names, in no particular order, of bloggers, now deceased, whom I’ve deleted from my list of links:
- Michael O’Connor Clarke
- Michelle Goodrich
- Charlie “Winston Rand” Rhodes
- Aaron “Uppity Negro” Hawkins
- Aaron Swartz
- Anita Rowland
- Joe Bageant
Now comes the hard part, the knowledge that there are a few friends and acquaintances who have come and gone over the last twelve or thirteen years, and my mind (“like a steel sieve”) has refused to recall them while I made my list. When I hit the button to post this, I’m sure some name will spring to mind and I’ll be totally chagrined. No disrespect for those omissions is intended. As time goes by, more of us will qualify for this post’s sad roll call. And, like the man said, “The world will little note nor long remember” us. It’s likely though, that the world will long remember that at the dawn of the 21st century a new genre of electronic self publishing arose. They called it blogging, and they called the writers who did it bloggers.