How our sites are used when we die

After a hit-and-run accident in New York, a young woman's Friendster site becomes a source for newspapers and digital rubberneckers.

Early Sunday morning in New York's East Village, an allegedly drunk driver ran over and killed a 25-year-old student named Hannah Engle. Sadly, that's not a new story, or a remarkable one. But unlike most hit-and-run victims in the past, Engle had a site on Friendster.

This became a source for news coverage. The New York Post quoted testimonials from her friends. And after the Post came out this morning, I'm told, traffic at her site was virtually paralysed by hordes of digital rubberneckers.

The lesson here is that with every word we post, we're writing our own obituaries. Our blogs and social networking sites, so full of the jokes and banter of our lives, quickly become at our death the closest thing most of us will have to a shrine.

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