Tuesday, July 01, 2008

When bloggers die

Spurred by headline on the conviction of the killer of Julia Campbell, I paid Julia's blog a visit just now. It's still up and will probably be so for the rest of the lifetime of Google. And that's just right, I think. It's a fitting memorial to a blogger and a dedicated soul.

That leads me to bring up a somewhat morbid but necessary question: what happens when bloggers die?

The answer, of course, is: it depends. Depends on what? First of all: was the blog hosted on a public platform, e.g., Blogger or Wordpress? Or was it self-hosted on a commercial web server?

It's a practical consideration. Think about it. Blogs on publicly hosted platforms last practically forever (barring an exception that I'll go into later) -- or as long as any company continues to host them. Self-hosted blogs will last only as long as the subscription does: when the contract ends, the blog goes down and the domain name goes to some SEO.

From the point of view of web immortality, hosting on Blogger or Wordpress is probably the better deal.

Regardless, as a blogger, you should think about what happens when you shake off the mortal coil. Like all things of value, financial or emotional, it should figure in your will. Whether it's self-hosted or publicly-hosted, you might want to pass it on to someone you trust. After all, a blog is part of your persona, and, as in the case of Julia Campbell, it's something that the world will remember you by. You'll want to leave it in good hands.

Personally, I would like to post an announcement on this blog about my passing, when that happens. A simple thank-you-and-goodbye message, more like. For that to happen, I would have to include the account name, password, and final message in the will.

And, of course, someone I really trust.

Another story comes to mind: sometime last year, a friend died under very tragic and violent circumstances. There were dark suspicions and bitter accusations all around, and it all came to a head not long after her interment. The battleground, sadly, was the comments section of her Multiply blog. Friends who thought they were defending her honor just added fuel to the fire. It was sad because it seemed that peace continued to elude her even in death.

Fortunately, someone (not me) had the good sense to write the folks at Multiply. Pretty soon, her account was deactivated.

Still, that's one more memory gone.

What about you? Any thoughts and suggestions?