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Twitter. And Facebook. And death.

08/16/10 06:00 AM

Cheerful topic for a Monday morning, don’t you think?

Twitter has confronted the idea of death. We all have to eventually, right? The microblogging site has announced a new policy for when users die. Once the death is confirmed, the account can come down and they can send the family an archive of the person’s tweets. Or the family can choose to just leave the account alone.

Facebook offers a third choice: leave the web presence there but turn it into a memorial to the deceased. No new friends would be added but those who were already there can post things to the person’s wall.

It’s kind of a weird time for social media. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have become a regular part of our society, which inevitably involves all aspects of society, including death. But while these sites are good at organizing parties and making jokes, they’ve never had a good framework for the big inevitability of death itself.

We talk to Ira Brooker and Kim Osland, a couple of our Twitter followers, about how they’ve encountered and dealt with death through social media. We also check in with John Troyer, Deputy Director at the Center for Death And Society at the University of Bath in England. We get his thoughts on ritual, technology, and how we’re dealing with death in the digital world.

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the Blog

Future Tense becomes Marketplace Tech Report

09/17/10 06:12 PM

Hi everyone. John Moe here. Starting Monday, September 20th, Future Tense will be going by the name Marketplace Tech Report.

Producer Larissa Anderson and I have been working closely with the folks at Marketplace ever since we took over Future Tense in May. It’s worked out great. We’ve helped them, they’ve helped us, and together we’ll find more stories you’ll want to hear. Basically, we loved Marketplace so much we married them. And kind of took their name too. Is it creepy to compare two radio shows to a married couple? Sorry about that.

As part of the Marketplace portfolio of programs (along with Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report, and Marketplace Money), Marketplace Tech Report will keep bringing you stories that explain news and trends and technology and what it all means to you. We’ll be moving to a new simpler URL: marketplacetech.org, which will go live over the weekend. We’ll be bringing our entire archive of past shows and blog posts with us but in the meantime, we’re leaving futuretense.publicradio.org up so you can access the show archives from there as well.

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