I recently listened to an interesting episode of the CBC Spark podcast with a talk on online community and the impact of real-life death. It got me to thinking about the online communities and relationships that I find important.
The reasoning is that when one dies, your IRL friends and family may not be aware of your online relationships. In extreme circumstances this would result in your online connections never realizing what had happened to you. The suggestion in the podcast was to make sure that your family members understand what groups should be notified if something happens to you. This sounds obvious; but it’s often the case that the person’s online identity is something that’s only vaguely understood by the family (if at all). Notifying a WoW guild is probably not something they’ll think about without some instructions. All in all, a thought-provoking interview.
While I’m not as concerned with postmortem notification itself, I did like the idea of examining and classifying my online relationships. I do think it’s worthwhile to make more explicit my links to certain groups, organizations, and people. I’ll get to groups later, though; I want to start with individuals. I’ve made some real connections online over the years. These are mentors, muses, and friends, and all of them really matter to me. I like knowing what’s happening with them, and I want them to know what’s going on with me.
I’ve only met a couple of them in person (and even then, only in passing)…yet all of them are important to me. The Internet sure is weird!