Virtual memorials in Second Life. Think about it . . .
I was chatting with some smart people at the Berkman Center last week and talk somehow blundered into personal memorials and it hit me that Second Life would be the perfect place for this. A little web searching revealed that a thousand people are trying this on the web, but they're missing the point. Memorials, both as part of the grieving process and family history, are meant to be experienced with people. With family, friends, loved ones. Going to a website to see pictures of a grandparent is not the same as being able to stroll through a recreation of their garden, to watch a home movie on the television from a copy of their living room, or to do a family gathering on their birthday with relatives from all over the world to spend an evening sharing memories. Maybe even a regular update to the memorial to blend in the lives of their children.
I suspect that this might be best done in Europe first -- given a somewhat more pragmatic approach to end-of-life care and decisions -- but with a graying world population, data indicating that Second Life is more appealing the older you are, and an increasingly tech savvy elderly population, why not spend the next several years working with your parents to make a place to remember them? Why not let people help create the places that will define their memory?