Young,on MySpace,and dead
February 12th, 2007

“Rianna Woolsey, a 16-year-old high school student, last logged onto MySpace.com on December 6, 2005,”this age article says.”She died the next day in a car crash near her home.Her online profile is a snapshot of a young life cut short. Her smiling face greets visitors. There is a photo of her boyfriend, she calls James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces the “best book ever written” and wrote that she planned to have children “someday”.The part of her page that has changed since her death is the section where MySpace denizens post comments. Since the accident, friends have written nearly 700 messages to the dead girl.MySpace.com was created in 2004 as an online community to meet friends or lovers, network, post pictures, listen to music and keep blog diaries. But it has also become a place for a generation to chronicle its grief – a high-tech extension of visiting graves, composing letters to the departed and writing about sorrow. Woolsey’s MySpace page is one of countless that have turned into virtual memorials.
Dead users’ profiles largely feature teens and people in their 20s, who are most likely to use MySpace. Some killed themselves or accidentally overdosed on drugs. A few had heart defects. Others were slain, some soldiers were killed in Iraq and a young man was gunned down in a drive-by shooting. Many died in car accidents.Family and friends use other sites to remember the dead more formally, with legacy pages and condolence books. But the grieving on MySpace is unplanned, a frozen moment, showing when the dead person last logged on, their favourite books and movies, whether they were in a relationship, photos of their friends. The messages from friends are like text messages, stream-of-consciousness blurbs filled with slang, misspellings and abbreviations – sorrowful and sweet, angry and funny, routine and heartbreaking. They include reminiscences, pleas to watch over them and updates on events the dead friend has missed”.

‘It feels like she is still here’


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