As I joked when I watched my own Faceback ‘look-back’ vid, a sort of one minute, whirlwind, robo-Ken Burns impressionistic bio vid created from one’s Facebook images posted since joining and accompanied by sweeping, valedictorious music, I feel like I’m at my own memorial service.
But — let me roll back a little…
Back in the ’90s I had the idea of doing multimedia memorials, vids, photo albums, music, writings, etc, and putting them on CDRs for distribution to families and friends at services — and that did come about done by pros — but I had in mind a desktop app that would let normal people create them — or create their own ‘life stories’ as they went along. But, of course, THAT’s a lot of work. I don’t mean the developing — I mean, Joe or Mary Sixpack sitting down and updating their cyber-diary.
But I didn’t count on the cross pollination of existing social media (the oldest form of online activity, with dial-up BBs preceding the WWW by more than a decade) with the not-quite-post-me-gen phenom of blogs to create the new social media pioneered in various ways by the second social media generation: Mp3.com (sharing, BBs, personal publishing), Friendster, MySpace, which then gave way to the third: Facebook.
With a critical mass of friends and social contacts, the dreary work of autobiography (which tends to produce the kind of long, involved, ultimately boring writing I specialize in) was supplanted by something more like everyday social life: banter, personal and family news sharing, civics discussions, personal op-ed and jeremiads, and a dash of self-promo and self-branding.
Capture enough of that and you have the raw material for something like my original cyber-memorial idea, but even better, since it forms a sort of meta-snapshot of the subject’s life.
Anyhow… this grieving father wanted to share his son’s look-back vid with family and friends, but FB’s rules, interlaced with a variety of federal and other laws seemed to not permit it and his entreaties via email and normal channels got nowhere.
In desperation, he posted a heart-rending off-the-cuff minute and a half vid explaining the situation and asking his friends and their friends to share it.
It worked. Thanks, Facebook, for doing the human thing.
It can be tough to watch a tough guy fighting back tears, but I found the grieving father’s video profoundly moving.