I saw this post which my friend and colleague Jennifer Leggio wrote a few moments ago, and as soon as I saw it, my blood boiled with rage.
In a nutshell, the guy who created Monster.com set up an obituary alert "social network" which allows you to be notified when someone you select dies. She writes:
"Turns out that Jeff Taylor, the founder behind Monster.com, has started up a site called Tributes.com, at which consumers can stay informed 24/7 and connected with “accurate obit alerts” for any town in the US, alumni, family name, or military unit."
"Not sure I can imagine myself sitting down and listing out all the deaths I’d like to know about. I also can’t imagine the heart racing that would occur when I got such an email alert."
Let's get something straight here, and I'm venting from personal experience here. One of our close friends died in the August just passed, and I found out via a phone call at 2am only a few hours before I was due to sit an exam. I was shocked and confounded with grief. I then spent the best part of 4 hours ringing everyone in my phone book who were mutual friends telling them of the news, spreading it as far wide as Australia and Alaska.
I missed one person, and he found out from the tribute messages on Facebook. He was mortified, and I don't blame him for one minute.
The idea of an online obituary website is something special; letting the news of a loved one pass is done this way sensitively and respectful, but only after you've initially spoken to the person face-to-face. Setting up alerts for someone before they die is mindbogglingly atrocious.
Why would anyone in their right mind do this?
The reason I'm writing this is as a friend pointed out, these sorts of sensitive issues affect the younger generation in a different way. Older people do read the obituaries in newspapers to see if and when their friends and acquaintances have passed, but for us younger people, it's more of a shock when a friend dies.