Digital Memorials

Mark Larson reflects on learning of a friend's death over Facebook:

Coming from a generation that grew up with Facebook and lived in a world in which relationships weren’t official until they were on the social networking site, in a strange way finding out about a friend dying in war via Facebook made it more real. You could still go to his profile and see the pictures he’d posted of the nights he spent out before deploying or the hundreds of posts on his wall from grieving friends trying to send a message one last time. In this way such a profile acts as a public memorial, and a welcome one, since its existence reminds all those in his social circle precisely what is at stake in a war that has zero effect on their day-to-day lives.