“Steve Jobs has sent you a Friend’s Request.”
That was the first thing that I expected when I thought of creating a profile with Departed Life – a social network for the departed souls.
Well sadly (or thankfully) that’s not how it works. This ain’t Hogwarts and you can’t expect to talk to Dumbledore as and when you like. Its Earth with all its power cuts, Social Media Experts and yes, Justin Bieber.
How does Departed Life work?
Though, it has an in-built social networking element that aims at keeping the memories of deceased people alive in the memories of its descendants¹, rather than labeling it as a social network, it can, at present, be best considered as a sort of archive to make profiles of your loved departed ones.
The site allows one to sign up either via an email or via Facebook. It allows you to search for departed soul’s profiles. Over to their main section, you can add profiles of your loved-n-lost ones. You can post images, videos and even light candles in their memory. The same would be shared to your Facebook Timeline so that others can come to know of your commemoration. You can also invite in your friends to join in the conversation on the departed soul’s profile, though it’s completely above me why anyone would do that. It’s a very personal thing.
Since all I know about my Grandad is that he was a farmer and his name is “Appa”, I couldn’t go on with a profile for him.
Will Departed Life click?
Now to the million dollar question – will it click? Frankly saying I do have my doubts. The UI has to be improved upon a lot. Presently it looks more like a College Project. The idea it is based upon has to be rethought seriously. Though the intention is good, am not sure how many people would be interested in knowing the details of my grandfather other than maybe my future generations (that too, if they are that sentimental). A third person, unless he has lots of time on his hand would definitely not find it suitable to go through the history of some random individual half way around the world.
For the intention the site is built upon, a family tree concept would probably do. And inviting my Facebook friends for a commemorative ceremony of my relative is obviously not something I would be doing in my right mind. The Founder, in good intentions, has wanted to make it a network where future generations would be able to get in touch with their roots. But for that, as I said earlier, a Social Network is not what is needed. Rather an archiving process.
It is difficult to say how people will respond to this, especially in India where death plays a major role in many religious beliefs. World Without Me is another network that caters around the same idea where you are asked to plan and secure your digital footprints before your death. Departed Life also plans to add this feature along with some other in the near future.
I for one seriously believed in the concept of “Rest In Peace” for the departed souls. But then, you never know with the Internet!