When a netizen dies, what happens to his online body of work?
Many times websites of the deceased are shuttered by family members or slowly kicked down the Google index the longer they sit dormant. Defunct Facebook profiles are turned into online memorials for the dead, where people collect to share their memories and best wishes. Facebook even has a form you can fill out to “memorialize” a deceased person’s profile.
Memmento, a new site that launched today, wants to transition memorials from Facebook onto its own death-dedicated platform. The results are as unsettling as you’d probably expect. The site is a virtual graveyard littered with photos, videos and memories of souls long gone. Users can choose to leave flowers or candles on the “official” pages of deceased stars like Donna Summer and Steve Jobs. They can also write notes and upload photos and videos.
Memmento isn’t just for celebrities, though. Users can also create memorials for anyone in their life who has passed away. These memorials are free to make, and Memmento provides you with 100 complimentary credits you can use to purchase virtual flowers and candles. For non-creators who would like to leave a virtual gift, most cost $1 or $2.
“Today’s technology allows the preservation of a memory for eternity,” reads a press release. “MEMMENTO offers a possibility to record the lives of your loved ones in a way that they will never be forgotten. MEMMENTO offers creation of an online memorial for free and guarantees that the memorial will stay accessible forever.”
Thomas Zempliner, Memmento’s founder, seems to think the site could all but replace regular visits to the cemetary. “People today in their busy lives rarely find the time to visit the cemetery because they spend more and more time by their computers, but the human need for remembering the departed loved ones remains,” he said in the release.
Because the Internet has become an important medium for self-expression and discussion, it was inevitable that a place for online memorials would eventually crop up. We can see how it might be comforting for some, but the whole site has a macabre, voyeuristic quality to it–like you’ve walked in on a conversation you weren’t meant to overhear.
In short, it made us really, really sad. Glance into the rabbit hole at your own risk while we crank up the Cat Power and search “comfort food” on Seamless.