Death notice by Facebook.
Yes, that's how a colleague learned of someone's passing recently: An update on Facebook.
It's possibly the coldest, most uncomfortable way to learn of someone's death, aside of the cell phone call I got in a public restroom while I was hanging out with my breastpump. At least it wasn't texted to me.
Yet, this is what this world has come to. We keep up on each other's lives not by calling, not by e-mailing (the day of "forwarding a joke and they'll know I'm thinking of them" has passed). Instead, we follow Twits and feeds from people who may or not be our friends in the living, breathing world.
As a Web person in the real world, I've often shied away from how much computer time I actually spend in "talking to the virtual wall" communication. Yes, I blog, and I participate in a few message boards, LinkedIn and a few other communities, but being a working mom, I've set my limits as to how much time and how many venues I'm actually putting a stamp on my presence. I'm a little strange in that rather than use the shotgun approach at trying to do everything, I'm trying to do a few things well. And frankly, I have little time for the vices I do have.
Even so, I know through my reader how people are doing. How my friend Christy's battling her triplets' dance with chicken pox, or how we've got another event going on with our church group. We're so busy we forget to call. We sometimes neglect to e-mail. But we friend, and we feed. And on a really great day, we'll comment back on that virtual wall.
I miss the old days when we just stopped by to say hello.