As more people post their lives online through mediums like blogs and MySpace, what will happen to all their words when they pass away? I started pondering this question after visiting the blog of Julia Campbell, a Peace Corps Volunteer murdered earlier this year in the Philippines. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who survived a possibly fatal accident while serving overseas, I've always honored those Volunteers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to others. The Fallen Peace Corps Volunteers Memorial Project was created by the family of PCV Jeremiah Mack, who died in Niger in 1997. The Project is a touching and appropriate way to honor these Volunteers; the project is also raising funds for a permanent memorial in Washington, D.C.
Julia Campbell's blog remains online, her most recent entry written a few days before her death. There are hundreds of comments for that last entry as people create their own memorial honoring Julia. I wonder, though, what will eventually happen to blogs like this? Are they like the ribbons people tie around trees in honor of the missing and dead--markers which eventually disappear with the passing of time? Or will someone (or more likely, some archiving program) eventually save all these blogs, preserving a record for those who one day want to look back and learn about who we were?