Websites like My Death Space are why we have a Links review section. My first impression of My Death Space was that it would be as vacuous and trivial as My Space itself. The only relish I thought I would take in cruising it, would be at mocking the unimportant frivolous lives of those people listed. In the grand scheme of things, your embedded HTML virtual pets or your “Which Seinfeld character are you” quiz results are just wholly uninteresting and irrelevant.

I thought that this site would only enshrine the narcissism of a distracted generation, and that these people would be survived solely by their vanity. I was dead wrong.

More than an Obituary

The site lists people in much the same way we list articles. There is a photograph and a brief description. Opening a link brings you a larger picture with a news article regarding the person’s demise. Many of them share common fates. They are killed by disease, car accidents, violence, and suicide. It is here in the starkness of a journalistic eye that humanity begins to seep through.

Opening the deceased’s’ My Space site offers a glimpse into who the person was in life, and what they were about when they died. As I expected, there are virtual pets. There are examples of poor taste in music. There are obnoxious colors. But there are also favorite books. There are also listings of friends. There are hopes and ambitions. There are photos and memories. An obituary follows an outdated and impersonal formalistic sum of a person’s life. My Space provides a self-created life mask that cannot be equaled in depth or meaning.

Moving On

One of the most moving aspects of this use of My Space is the ability for friends and families to leave messages for the deceased. Of course, the deceased will not receive these messages; at least not in the way the site intends. But the grief and fond memories take their place on the page, reminding anyone who visits that this was a person who was loved, and will be long missed. This message is the same whether the person was killed in action in Iraq, or victim of a car accident.

Hate Mail

My Death Space receives a lot of hate mail. Most of it seems to be from outraged loved ones who dislike the impersonal and very public treatment their friend or family member has received. This seems to be especially true in regards to people who were victims of crimes. Their feelings are understandable. While My Death Space is a tremendous work of collective art, it could potentially offend some who are in the process of grieving. It could be seen as trivializing the person’s life.

The Future

This site has recently had to upgrade to a newer host due to an explosion of traffic. This is is a troublesome, but welcome problem for any webmaster. The site is popular, and has a “sophisticated shtick” that in our opinion, does not diminish the content within. The only foreseeable problem for this outlet would be the irony of “dead links.” My Space’s site doesn’t make it clear how it treats long inactive profiles, nor is it clear what would happen to a deceased person’s account. Even in a worst case scenario, My Death Space would benefit from the reaction time it would take to close the accounts. Therefore, this site can look forward to almost unlimited content in the future. While morbid in theory, it’s all part of life.


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