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"I see dead people..." on Facebook
The Hotel California of social media networks wants to keep you — dead or alive.
ANOTHER DEAD FRIEND.
Another Facebook page that’s still active.
I read somewhere that the deceased’s family has to prove to Facebook that a death has actually occurred before the user’s page is deleted.
This involves submitting to Zuckerberg proof of authority, like having the dead person’s birth certificate, their last will and testament, and/or an estate letter.
After that stuff is turned over, they also need to provide proof that the loved one has indeed died, and so an obituary or memorial card needs to be submitted.
You can see why so many dead people’s FB pages remain ‘active’ on the network. Fuck, who wants to deal with (or have time) for all of the above nonsense?
And Jesus knows FB wants to keep their ‘user’ numbers high to continue to court and fleece advertisers.
The thing about social media platforms is that once you enter their Chinese finger trap, you’re counted as a ‘forever.’
Worse, you are intermixed with millions upon millions of fraudulent accounts and bots, a mish-mash of bytes that obliterates identity.
Marshall McLuhan prophesized this 50 years ago when he said:
“The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.”
If advertisers knew the genuine number of ‘living’ FB users versus the inflated fraud numbers FB touts, they’d be fleeing in even greater numbers than they are now.
Anyway, I think about seven friends have died since I signed up for Facebook 15 years ago. And it’s super weird—and now doubly voyeuristic—to go and visit the dead person’s page when curiosity overcomes me.
And it does. I go in there and trawl, half-covering my eyes and half-WTF-ing. It's kind of awful.
Friends and family continue to scrawl comments—especially around holidays and anniversaries—on the dead person’s ‘wall’ as if the deceased can ‘read’ them.
Nothing says unhinged from reality like: “Love you, babe, I know your [sic] reading this somewhere. Here’s a picture of Tammy’s new baby.”
But, think about it, how ‘real’ is any of the interaction on FB that occurs in the here and now with allegedly ‘alive’ people?
Lately, when I go into the network to post a link over to my Substack, I recoil from the heightened level of desperation that’s flooding the network. The entire country seems to be in the middle of a psychotic break.
I mean, I’m seeing more and more Queen for Day-like posts from ‘users.’
Publicly confessed details about domestic abuse, loneliness, suicidal obsession, helplessness, joblessness, and lovelessness.
The posts keep piling up, one atop the other.
For a kicker, often right below the post is a picture of someone’s wedding in Paris. Or their new Lexus SUV.
Or worse, a bunch of rogue chickens. A post from last week:
Sometimes I talk to the tragic posts and say something like, “Your [sic] interacting within the very medium that’s annihilating your soul.”
I then imagine the person dead and the sort of comments people will leave on their ‘wall.’
What I hate most about obituaries is that they are never honest. Everyone eulogized was “a force of nature” and a saint and lived a life that brought constant joy to others.
When I die, I want the actual gigabytes of porn I streamed detailed to the last byte.
The worst, though, is when the obituary never tells me what the person died of (or from), which usually means they killed themselves. Which, nowadays, means they remained on Facebook too long.
It’s all pitiful and, as I said earlier—awful.
I’m imagining Hamlet at the grave, and he’s turning the skull ‘round and ‘round, and there’s a Facebook ‘LIKE’ thumb etched into the bone-dome-top.
And for a soundtrack, there’s that bit from Joni Mitchell's song Hejira:
Well, I looked at the granite markers
Those tributes to finality, to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality.
I guess that’s the big unconscious draw to leaving trails on FB—be ye alive or dead—‘chicken scratching’ for immortality.
And by the way, those chickens pictured above were never claimed. Goddess only knows where they’re roosting now.