Obituaries for a new generation

By Kasey Minnick
September 29, 2006

Everyone in this day and age has heard of It’s a site where you can list all of the juicy details about yourself and post the cutest pictures. Now people all over the Internet can see who you are and where you’re from. But how about we “kick it up a notch” and supply you with a site to put loved ones on when they pass away. There is now a site where you can do that: MyDeathSpace.

MyDeathSpace is an archival site, containing news articles, online obituaries and other publicly available information. Although this site may seem like it’s linked to MySpace, it isn’t affiliated with them whatsoever. The information from this site is gained strictly from the public by simply clicking one button: submit a death.

To submit a death, the procedure seems pretty simple. You need to enter your name and email address, the deceased’s full name, cause of their death, their MySpace URL and the news article URL.

The deaths that are listed on this webpage aren’t your typical obituaries. Deaths such as a 24-year-old man that fell to his death from a 50 foot embankment in Hawaii, a young man that was thrown to his death from a stolen vehicle and a father who used a method called shaken baby syndrome to kill his seven month-old baby girl.

Timothy Harner, a sophomore history education major, said, “It’s almost hard to look at. It’s disgusting to hear that a father shook his baby. What kind of world do we live in?”

But maybe this site isn’t looked at by many. Wrong! The forum board has 700 members and is growing quickly. Currently, there are 397 topics and 15,533 posts including topics such as site improvements, a hate mail section and death discussions. These forums aren’t your everyday conversations either.

Meghan, a forum contributor, wrote, “I think what you are doing is disgusting and disrespectful. Everyone that was a part of making this site should be ashamed of themselves. This site is morbid and should be stopped!”

Following that blog, a senior member administrator wrote, “I hope this site helps America get more real about death so it can be discussed rather than feared. Maybe this site can help celebrate these individuals while they were here. I actually think it could help.”

Chris Lasher, a freshman accounting major, said, “I believe that as long as the families are putting the articles onto the website, there is nothing people should say about it. It would be different if the site took clippings from newspapers, found the person’s picture and did the postings themselves without the family knowing.”

Not only does the site provide the viewer with more than enough information, but now that it is being visited so frequently, the site is trying to make sales off of it. MyDeathSpace buttons and magnets are available as are MyDeathSpace wristbands. Under the sales title is says, “Help support MDS! Be the envy of your friends! Great conversation piece!”

If you are interested in this site you can even subscribe to receive newsletters on recent deaths. But maybe you are an old-fashioned type of person and rather open up a newspaper to read the sad headings instead of reading blogs on MyDeathSpace. You decide.

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Kasey Minnick

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