August 12, 2010
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Web Stones

Almost a dozen years ago, I wrote a short piece about Web pages that outlive their creators.

The emergence of Web shrines -- home pages dedicated to the memory of friends or ancestors -- is unexpected, unheralded, and remarkable. Web shrines are among the clearest signs that the Web is neither purely a commercial nor a transitory phenomenon.

Of course, Web memorials no longer strike us as unexpected or especially remarkable. And I think we now see customs of behavior regarding the Facebook pages or weblogs of those who are no longer with us.

I think we’re missing two conventions, though. We need a symbol, a stone, to say, “this a a memory.”

And we need as well a mechanism for leaving little stones as we pass by, a way of showing respect and sympathy and acknowledging the visit.