Someone I loved is lost. Part 2: learning pointsPosted: August 3, 2013 | |
Regarding the situation I described in my post (Someone I loved is lost. Is he gone forever? I may never know.) from last weekend, there are some learning points, or action points, that can come from an experience such as this.
First of all, I received some very kind comments to that post, both here and on Twitter. Thanks, again, to those people who took the time to comment, share their thoughts/feelings, and lend a /hug. I’m glad that so many people read the post – it’s definitely a subject that made me think a little more deeply about relationships with online friends.
Secondly, Nev from She Rides Dragons wrote a piece from a place on the other side of the equation, entitled Just Somebody That I Used To Know?, where she talked about the fact that sometimes real life events – going in for surgery, for instance – present us with unknowns that we might not always think about. What if, as she posited, she doesn’t come out on the other side of the surgery, for instance? On one hand, it’s a terrible thing to think about, but it can be a pragmatic thought in cases like this. However, while her friends and family might always be in touch with what’s happening, what about all of her online friends, fellow bloggers and followers, and gaming buddies?
This made me stop and think again about my own situation. While I don’t have anything like surgery on the horizon, what if? is a big question. We are never guaranteed tomorrow; we only have today. And if something happened to me, Mushan, Etc. would stop cold. @MushanEtc. would as well. Mushan would stop logging into WoW.
Any and all of my WoW-related online personas would come to a standstill, but they would also be suspended in time for all time. Other than my Real ID friends in WoW – many of whom are friends who talk outside the game, and would find out somehow – and friends on places like Facebook, who are connected to people I know in real life, including family, nobody would know what happened, or have a way to find out.
I assume this is the case with most bloggers who write about things like video games. Anyone who hides behind the avatar and screen name is somewhat anonymous, and difficult for the average person to find. This is as intended, but as I talked about in that previous post, there can be heavy consequences.
What’s great for me about this set of realizations, putting them into words on the blog, and the reactions I’ve gotten, is that they solidify a train of thought that has been germinating for a while. What’s happening is that my perspective about clinging to online anonymity is changing. Along with that, I’m also formulating a plan to provide some measure of closure to my online friends in the form of information, should something happen to me (God forbid).
A while back, I was having a conversation with my father. He’s retired, and healthy, and hopefully he and my mother will both live until I am an old man. Anyway, he was talking about paying bills. He pays almost all of his bills online now, and suddenly he mentioned that he should probably do something with all of that information, since he handles the family finances and my mother does not. She doesn’t know the passwords to any of the sites that he uses to pay their bills, do their banking, manage his retirement fund, and so on. We talked about this again recently at my brother’s wedding – apparently, it’s still on his mind, but he hasn’t done anything about it.
My parents aren’t in their current situation because my mother can’t handle finances; rather, my father handles them because he has the time and the interest, and my mother still works, so that’s just how they get done. Given the necessity, my mother would do a fine job with it. The only obstacle is that she will likely need the passwords and information in the event that she outlives him.
These conversations came to mind when I was thinking about my online personas. Someone close to me should be able to access my blog account, my Twitter account, and any other place where I interact with people that I have relationships with. If nothing else, so that readers/friends can be informed.
(This is actually an issue that is becoming increasingly common in this day and age, by the way. I’ve read several articles about it over the past few years, regarding both finances and social networking – mainly Facebook – in the case of someone passing away.)
Ultimately, I’ve learned that when someone in our “online world” disappears without word – for whatever reason – it is not an event (or non-event) that occurs in a vacuum. As a blogger, I want to always remember to never be the person who suddenly disappears, leaving others to wonder. However small or large our circle of community, it’s still a community of real people with brains and hearts.
Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!