I recently read a little short science fiction story entitled ‘A Mild Mannered Uprising of the Dead’, which was recommended by someone in my department. In the story the dead are able to communicate and live on through online systems, run by a social media company called Tushie.org.
Their online existence is facilitated by the development of a virtual environment in which each deceased person may purchase and furnish a house or dwelling. This is done via the medium of their living relatives funding the deceased with Teshie dollars (similar to bit-coins).
The concept of ‘ghosts’ interacting and communicating with the living through a virtual reality comes across as simple and almost obvious to the reader. The notion of extending social media just one step further seems inevitable within the story. This is emphasised by the very ‘human’ description of the processes, and the explanation of the ideas published in media from the developer, Quartey.
The story uses many forms of narrative, including media exerts from announcements and developments of the company, to personal complains and conversations of the ghosts and their living relatives. The story however, is focused on the ability of the human race to adapt and utilise the technology around them to change social constructs, and to change the perception of people using it.
As the dead register their complaints they begin to call out the moral corruption of the living, name names who have committed wrongs, and highlight the fact that human nature is now so thoroughly centred around greed for money when it should focus on improving citizens lives.
Tushie.org, as a medium for well-mannered ghost complaints about the state of the economy and governmental dealings, inadvertently caused a revolution that would not have worked anywhere else. It’s summed up by “giving shape and structure to those family ties and turning them into strong weapons of shame.”
I cannot help but wonder, is this the future of society and the Web? Will we be able to live on through the personalities that we sculpt out for ourselves in the online world. Will these even take on more dimensions and subtitles as social media develops alongside it?
As more people are becoming digital natives in our day and age it seems rational to predict new terminology for such times. Digital migrants will eventually become a minority. Natives will be gradually overtaken by those who are exposed to the online world even earlier. Web 3.0 will raise the next generation, but what shall they be called?