It’s been a while in happening, what with life catching up with me over the past few months, but it is now time to metaphorically put pen back to paper.
Those who know me well will understand that I possess something of a love/hate relationship with social networking site, Facebook. I see, like many, it’s great uses but also perhaps the pitfalls of taking it too seriously. I was browsing on that site today and experienced a moment that shook and saddened me and started me thinking about the way we ‘know’ and relate to each other on the internet in general.
A few years ago, not many at all, I was a regular contributor to a site by the name of Mass Hibsteria which featured an online forum ostensibly about Hibernian Football club, but for the small and merry band that resided there was a vehicle for a lot of fun and chat about well, practically anything really. Times change and Mass Hibsteria or MHHM (Mass Hibsteria, Hibs Monthly) as it was previously also known as a paper fanzine became no more, though to this day, I have great friends from there, met and yet to meet. In the latter category was Sarah, a strident, funny young woman of strong opinions who took the Hibs as her own and who was passionate about music and politics to name but two driving interests. During that time, I’d often hear from her via some lengthy emails which were invariably kind and supportive at a time when I was having something of a struggle with my life. Her messages were always intelligent, helpful and not least, delivered with great kindness and understanding.
Today I visited Sarah’s Facebook page to leave her my birthday wishes. I found to my great shock and sadness that she had passed away earlier this month. The circumstances I know not. Sarah’s passing reminded me of something I have been want to think about occasionally over the years since the era began when many of us started leaving an indelible footprint all over the internet after first seeing fit to become connected to the world in that way. Our ancestors left us with a few pictures and the odd hand written letter, if we were fortunate but now everything we say and do, whatever our mood and whatever the subject, can and is recorded for who knows how long?
I hope that people continue to read the things that Sarah had to say. She informed us, debated and laughed with us. It was always worth listening to her when she spoke, and that was a great deal. The world is now a poorer place.
Happy Birthday Sarah. Sleep peacefully pal, you will be sadly missed.