Like much younger people who participate in blogging and other social media, we elders have online friends who are every bit as important to us as those we know in “real life.” A difference, however, is that we have a greater expectation at our age of disappearing from the web whether temporarily or permanently.
A few years ago, I wrote about my final blog post titled, If You're Reading This, I'm Dead, because it is a terrible thing for our blog friends and acquaintances to be left hanging with no explanation.
I suggested then, and do so again now, that you write that final post. You can place information about where it is stored with the papers your survivors will need right away. Along with that, you should leave precise instructions on how to post it with ID and passwords that are needed, detailed enough so that a non-blogger can work through posting it step by step.
It would be good, too, to leave a note about how important this is to do because it's my experience that people who do not blog or do not read blogs regularly enough to know the depth of friendships that grow also do not understand how much a part of our daily lives it is and might ignore or put off posting our last story.
Until now, I had thought about this only in the context of bloggers dying. Then, yesterday, an email arrived from a friend and regular contributor to The Elder Storytelling Place, Nancy Leitz. Here is what, in part, she wrote:
”I have been thinking that there should be some sort of registry for bloggers and storytellers.
“Sometimes I wonder what would happen if all of a sudden YOU did not post anything and we had no idea what had happened to you. Or, if weeks went by and there were no comments from me or any new stories. Would you know who to contact to find out what had happened to me?
“We make very good friends with people on our computer and yet we do not have a way to contact a family member of theirs in case of emergency.”
Nancy is correct, of course. It's not just about dying. Now and then we might suddenly disappear from the web due to illness or accident and a hospital stay leaving everyone to wonder.
Plus, there are many friends among us who, like Nancy, do not keep their own blogs but do participate in sites like The Elder Storytelling Place either as contributors or regular commenters and at TimeGoesBy as commenters but it would be unlikely that spouses or friends would think to tell us what has happened.
Nancy is suggesting the registry for bloggers, storytellers and readers who comment regularly. It would not need to be elaborate, just a listing that would be something like:
”I sign my stories and/or comments [name you use]. Please contact my [husband, daughter, son, friend, etc.] at [email address]. He/she will know what is happening with me.”
This is an excellent idea. It doesn't work for the general World Wide Web but it is useful for individual blogs like The Elder Storytelling Place (ESP), Time Goes By or any other one.
Nancy has offered to be the keeper of the registry my two blogs but I wonder if or how people would know to contact her when someone's name hasn't been seen for a while. I could keep the list here, but it should not be a public page where scraper sites can be stealing email addresses and driving our relatives nuts with more spam.
So I'm calling on readers who have more security expertise than I do to help devise a way to keep such a registry. How would I do that on this blog and/or ESP?
Is there a place somewhere online where I could create a space for people to sign up for the registry on their own that is searchable by those who have their own listing?
Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Jeanne Waite Follett: Of Sharks and Rainbows and the iPad 2