Remembrance in second life


Jonathan Hargreaves in his cold coffee rants looks at the way technology is being used following a tragedy.

Ye olde, old world media have had field day with the tragedy in Virgina this week and somehow I seem to be becoming immune to the way they sensationalise such horror. But reporting or events around the shootings in the world of web2.0 has made me think again about some of the morays of Society2.0. Most notably phenomena of the eBAy Vultures who put up site names for sale such as One seller hope to get $1million for by promising to give 98% to the victims families if they buy it now. In her sales pitch she added as you know this is the most deadly mass shooting in US history… It would be great for a memorial site.

So where is the compassion in this? I mean it all very well being bottom up, free and democratic but what about some kind of values? I mean it’s okay having no rules but surely someone should be able to demand some kind of etiquette or is anything fair game in Society2.0? Okay before I get overtaken by moral outrage perhaps I should drink a sip of my frappachino … no one really wants to go up to the mount and carve out the moral commandants for Society2.0 do they?

There is also a place mourners can go and pay their respects in SecondLife

Tim Callington adds to the discussion noting how how quickly the Wikipedia entry on the Virginia shootings has been compiled. He takes a more cynical approach looking at Social values and web 2.0. Web 2.0 godfather Tim O’Reilly recently proposed a code of ethics for the blogosphere…then ditched it when he decided it would be almost impossible to enforce.

Tim quotes:

For me Web 2.0 is defined by the communities it enables people to form. Those communities determine their own codes of conduct and morality…you break the code, you’re out.

I take a more pragmatic view.

I applaud technology being able to give people a voice to share their grief and worries where otherwise they might be left alone. Having a mrs that is a psychologist I hear too many anecdotal stories of people losing the plot because they do not have an easy forum to talk. If the flip side of this is macabre capitalism then so be it – personally I think it’s a worthwhile trade-off.

However, the technology part of this does not purely lie in the aftermath of this tragic event. What about the email that told everyone (albeit too late) that a gun man was on the loose and that everyone should ‘stay put’. Or the student that was stuck in a class room on Instant Messenger finding out whether it was safe for her to leave (it wasn’t and thankfully her colleagues could tell her that). For me technology has helped keep people alive during the shootings and helped keep people sane after the it.


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5 Responses to “Remembrance in second life”

  1. A very thought-provoking post. New media, like all life-changing things, has a tendency to polarize people; it’s good to have someone step back and give the overview without drinking the Kool-Aid or damning the upstart.

    I, also, am horrified at the cybersquatters and other cheap attempts to make money. Surely if corporations can get cybersquatters’ domain names revoked, the law could do something about this.

  2. 2 Jonny

    I agree raincoaster – I too have drank the Kool-Aid too often.

    I do believe as you point out that there is a corporate responsibility amongst companies (in this case domain name companies) to stop cybersquatters’ profiteering.

  3. Hi

    I don’t agree with ‘web 2.0=communities’ as web 2.0 is just a buzzword. communities have existed. been developed way before now. it’s a continuum.

    I think the way we police web 2.0, the role of regulation, our power in this world to change things – like truly protecting ourself, using the herd in that way – should be a part of the fallout and I’m glad to see it.

    I’m an old hack, so I see dangers maybe. But, bottom line doesn’t this point to ways to stop or reduce the damage for many scenarios like Vtech or worse?

    [a href=””>Commented further in response.


  1. 1 Gartner: 80% of active internet users will have a "Second Life" in the virtual world by 2012 « Technobabble 2.0
  2. 2 Cold coffee and society 2.0 « Technobabble 2.0

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