Mourning the Internet Famous: Randy Pausch's Distributed Funeral

Interesting observations on the internet’s response to the death of Randy (“The Last Lecture”) Pausch.

You interacted with Randy through a little box embedded in a webpage. Your headphones piped his voice clear and strong into the center of your brain, almost as if some deep part of your own mind was delivering his nuggets of wisdom. He was talking to you alone, not the hundreds packed into a theater or your family gathered around the television. In response, then, it made sense to get personal and say, directly, “Thanks, Randy. We’ll miss you.”

This mourning splits the difference between the small and generally private funerals of our friends and family and the public spectacles that marked the passings of Stalin, or Elvis, or Princess Di. Millions of people grieved alone in the asynchronous communities of the internet. —Alexis Madrigal