‘Social’ media doesn’t recognise death

When I go on ‘Linked In’, I’m often reminded to congratulate an old friend of mine for having been in business for x years.

The problem is, this old friend passed on some time ago…

Today I was reminded by Facebook that it was a relative’s birthday. Again, this person has been dead for some time. Nevertheless, I followed the link and found that no fewer than five of this person’s ‘friends’ had wished him a happy birthday.

So not only does the Internet suffer from linkrot and media rot, it also suffers from a lack of sanity checking.

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, Computers and Internet, People, Phlyarology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to ‘Social’ media doesn’t recognise death

  1. So what’s the solution??


    • pendantry says:

      I don’t see one. To recognise that a user has died would probably require the application to know more about the user than the average person would like. But they should at least acknowledge the problem; for instance, facebook’s constant reminders that it’s such-and-such’s birthday today should be knocked on the head. How many folks do they upset with such reminders? They don’t care… and that’s really the point. They. Don’t. Care.


    • pendantry says:

      I’ve been thinking about this some more…

      The basic problem is that these ‘social media’ sites rely upon the number of users they have. Not the number of active users, the total number. What an ethical social media site would do would be to differentiate between active and inactive users.

      Imagine a timer that starts when a user interacts with the social media site. If that timer reaches a predetermined value (let’s say three months) without any interaction from a user, it should flag the user as ‘inactive’, and, thereafter, it should behave differently for that user than it would for users that are constantly active. After all, after three months of inactivity, it’s certain that some of those users will have passed away: the social media site should recognise this by not suggesting to other users that they celebrate birthdays and other events.

      I think this might go a long way towards solving the problem.


  2. Pingback: How to ensure that your blog lives forever | Wibble

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