History of Online Life

[fr] J'ai beau dire dans mes conférences que ce que l'on met sur le web est hors de notre contrôle, et risque de devenir permanent, je suis de plus en plus confrontée à  la disparition de l'histoire numérique. Quelques réflexions sur l'histoire de Kaycee Nicole Swenson, l'adolescente fictionnelle qui mourut de leucémie en mai 2001.

I’m having a chat with Kevin (who should blog more!) about some past things, and he’s hunting around in the Internet Archive for photos and stuff. A lot of it (2003, 2004) is already gone. Can’t be found.

During my talks to teenagers, I always stress that something you put on the web is out of your control, and that you cannot “remove” it. In some cases you might, but you can’t be sure there isn’t a copy lying around somewhere.

Another thing I tell the kids I talk to is the Kaycee Nicole Swenson story — the young leukemia patient who died; she blogged for two years, was active in online communities, exchanged phone calls and presents with other bloggers and chatters, and was even interviewed for the New York Times — but never existed. Her original blog has been taken down, and a lot of stuff I referred to at the time when I wrote about the story. I googled for her to see what came up. Amongst various results came this blog entry from 2004. It ends like this:

Debbie Swenson did something that few writers have done before: she brought a character into the world of the living, gave her a working heart and soul, and affected real people’s lives with her work. In my opinion, that should be the purpose of all writing: to make a real difference. So in this case, my hat is off to Debbie for her skill and wisdom.

Pardon me? Duping people is “wisdom”? Please allow me to disagree strongly. I wanted to post this comment and although it appears in coCo, it didn’t get posted to the original blog because of some MovableType templat problem. Here it is:

Well, maybe we (because I was one of Kaycee’s readers) can cherish the memory of many cancer patients, but we can also cherish the memory of having been duped. If I’m going to put energy in a relationship, I want it to match reality, somewhat. Otherwise it makes no sense. Have you seen The Matrix? Maybe we should all eat little pills that make us happy — if we don’t know we’re not living in reality, where’s the damage? Some of my thoughts on the topic, in French: And in English:

All this happened in May 2001. It makes me feel like such an old-timer. Was anybody else around? Who remembers Kaycee Nicole?

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This entry was posted in Connected Life, Digital Youth, My work and tagged archive, blogger, Blogosphere Interest, deception, hoax, internetarchive, kaycee, kayceenicole, kayceenicoleswenson, teeenager, webhistory. Bookmark the permalink.

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