Things To Do On The Internet, When You’re Technically Dead

Posted on November 21, 2010. Filed under: Public Relations | Tags: , , , , , , |

Zombies as portrayed in the movie Night of the Living Dead

Image via Wikipedia

What I learned this week: when talking about the dead, technologically speaking, one is actually referring to a product, system or technology that is declining.

I found this enlightening. (As usual, I’m the last to know.) And uplifting, in terms of my own personal spirits.

Usually when I hear that something is “dead,” it disturbs me. It wasn’t always so.

I, The Wayward Reader

I grew up on a steady ration of books by authors like Mickey Spillane (Kiss Me Deadly, a classic by any standard), Edgar Alan Poe (The Tell Tale Heart, anyone?), Ian Fleming (Jill Masterson, the all-too-golden girl in Goldfinger?) and various other masters of mayhem and the macabre. Later Stephen King with Salem’s Lot and all that lot of the walking dead, high school girls extinguishing classmates by the score, etc.).

Not that these were books on any teacher’s recommended book list. A reading teacher reprimanded me for listing some of my extracurricular literary interests in our weekly report on books read. Since I was one of the few people in the class to take much of a cut at reading for pleasure at all, I thought this was a bit outrageous. Happily, I persisted in my illicit reading pursuits, albeit without making reference to them in subsequent reports.

So it’s not as if I’m one of those people who can’t watch a scary movie without going all catatonic for the next six days.

Dead Ascendant

Still to hear the word “dead” used in a day-to-day business sense, that upsets me. It upsets me more now that it did say 10 years ago. I can’t even remember if it did upset me 10 years ago. I don’t remember it being such a part of the common parlance as it is today. There was that movie, Dead Again, with who was it, Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep, kind of funny the first time around. A movie about the amusing dead. Those were more innocent times.

Microsoft is dead. I’m pretty sure I saw that somewhere within the last couple of months. The web is dead. Didn’t Wired proclaim it to be so recently? The press release is dead (oops, that was last year! And it is okay to use it as an example in this discussion of the technologically dead since it was the Web, specifically Web 2.0, said to be the spike stuck into the inky heart of the  earnest little press release. But wait, since the Web’s now dead, does that mean the press release may yet rally? A topic for another time, perhaps.). MySpace? Pretty much over and done with. Yahoo? Dead as the old Urban Cowboy, that one.

Grim Reaper Swings A Mean Digital Scythe

No question, death and dying within the technology realms is a part of the business zeitgeist. War is war, after all.

Technology in general and the web (even if it’s in a weakening state) in particular run at hyper-innovative speed, as Bill Tancer says in his book, Click. I get it. And now that someone finally explained to me that saying something is dead, technologically speaking, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s morgue material in a literal sense, I’ve got renewed hope.  Maybe I can condition my feelings a little better so that I don’t feel like jumping out of my skin over the sure-to-follow deluge of techno death notices in the days and weeks to come!

In fact, maybe it’s time to write a followup to Norman Mailer’s great existential docu-journal of the 1970s, The Executioner’s Song, about the death-by-firing-squad fate of Gary Gilmore in Utah. It might be called The Executioner’s Song Of Technologies Gone Good As Dead. Or maybe people wouldn’t want to be  caught dead reading such a morbid-sounding tome. Which might not be  such a problem, actually, since e-books are killing off their printed rivals with great gusto — and e-book reading is so much easier to conceal from public sight.

As for me, I think it’s time for some aggressive video therapy. Maybe something to watch on the order of Night of the Living Dead. Dawn Of The Dead. House Of The Dead. Something playfully dead.

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