User Not Found: When Online Friends Die

| February 14, 2003

Nearly everyone has endured the loss of a friend or loved one. But increasingly, as we spend more of our lives in online communities, many people are faced with the death of real friends who they?ve never met in person. How do you grieve for someone you?ve only known as a name on a computer screen? How is the death of an online friend similar to or different from the death of a ?real life? friend? Enter User Not Found, a thoughtful Weblog devoted to exploring these issues. Dana J. Robinson, who started the blog in January, knows a lot about such loss. She works as the community manager of an online forum for chronically ill children, which ?loses members almost daily.? Recent posts include: ?The ways communities remember,? ?Hoaxes aren?t a joking matter,? and ?The bittersweet reasons I do what I do.? The site caught my eye because in the last year our own online community, Caf? Utne, suddenly lost two beloved longtime members, Charlie Ryan and Morag Othen. The outpouring of love, grief, and mutual support among members of the Cafe after these two untimely deaths was a marvel to behold. Check out the special forums we created in their memories at the links below.

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Two special Caf? Utne forums in memory of:

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