The Other Side Of Disconnected

Several months ago, for reasons that perhaps will unfold as you read this blog, my online presence quite literally disappeared overnight. Several acquaintances, worried at the abruptness of my vanishing, began something of a manhunt, and, what with Google being the behemoth that it is, I didn’t take much finding by those select few internet acquaintances that I can happily count as real friends.

What I didn’t expect, and somewhat took for granted, was that once I’d returned, everyone else would be there, precisely as I’d left them. I was expecting to have to explain myself a bit, maybe even reintroduce myself to those who would remember me only vaguely, but at the very least, I would find everyone. There would be some obvious changes, of course. The moms-to-be who entertained with their nervous guest posts would be moms, now. Those who I’d met, first dangling their toes in the blogging waters, would by now be powerful writers. Everyone would have changed – but only a little.

But, sadly, it seems some people are missing; disappeared. In some cases, their presence is gone, deleted, just as mine had been, before. Those losses don’t seem too worrying; people move on, people no longer continue their hobbies – although it’s an insight to how my own departure had seemed. More disturbing are those who have left, almost in mid-conversation. Their timelines, their works-in-progress are still there. An infectiously enthusiastic young lady planning a trip to Europe – I hope she’s alright.

My partner and I both experienced losses last year, which we have only barely come to terms with in the slow, progressive way that humans do. Our friends have gone; but they have left behind digital legacies, shed an electronic coil as well as a mortal one. They’re still on Facebook. We get reminders of their birthdays. They’re still in our address books. They can still be heard in saved voice mails. I’m not sure whether these mementos make things easier or harder for us. All I know is, a digital disappearance impacts us just as much as a physical one. My vanishing act was thoughtless. Now I know how it feels.


About darlingman1970

Born in the UK and a graduate in mathematics from Cambridge University, Chris Nash has followed a career in software engineering which he continued after moving the United States in 1996 and now brings him to California in 2010. However, Chris does not want to be considered as merely a code monkey, and has always been interested in writing; in areas as diverse as factual technical manuals all the way through to fiction. An avid reader, Chris is a fan particularly of mystery novels and enjoys above all the works of Agatha Christie and David Hewson. Chris has recently gone through some significant life changes which, at the moment, he is considering as the basis for a forthcoming novel and as food for thought on his blog. He manages to couple his loves of writing and technology and is particularly interested in how internet innovations have an impact on the writing and promotional process. Chris is a firm supporter of Creative Commons and other 'open' initiatives and believes strongly that such distribution mechanisms are the "right" way to handle intellectual property in an evolving digital world. Chris is a keen Nintendo DS and Wii player in his spare time, and is currently happily attached, living in the Central Coast area of California. Find him on Twitter as @darlingman1970. Don't ask him how old he is.
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