It’s natural to understand life as a series of stages. We’ve been doing this since ancient times, and we have the riddles to show for it. The internet can put an interesting twist on the life cycle. I came to this thought after seeing Glen Pembroke’s new Tumblr. The concept is simple and cute: Pictures of crying son and reasons behind the meltdowns in the captions. It’s all rather witty and sobering if you have a toddler who does the same thing. Many parents it would seem do, since the site has gone viral. You know something is popular when Conan O’Brien parodies it!
There is some chatter that fears little Pembroke will be emotionally scarred from his fifteen minutes of online fame. I think that’s a bit of an overreaction (although not as much as the kid flipping out when he’s given the wrong sippy cup). More likely, he will grow up to appreciate the fact that his dad has a great sense of humor.
Then there’s the life stage on the other extreme. Death is now part of Google, and that’s a good thing. The what-happens-when-I-die question is tough to answer. But the where-do-all-my-data-and-passwords-go is now no longer a source of anxiety (or mystery). Google’s “Inactive Account Manager” (vague, but suggestive) gives users the freedom to adjust their settings for the eventuality of longterm or permanent non-use. In case it’s not clear, that would be because you’re dead. But I would rather have the power to plan for the who and how of accessing my data when I’m gone then leave it up to the vagaries of the internet.