Surfing the web for articles on the subject of the "digital afterlife," I stumbled upon the story of Mac Tonnies, a futurist and science fiction writer from Kansas City, Missouri, whose blog Posthuman Blues amassed a dedicated readership of friends and followers from 2003-09, before Tonnies suddenly died of a heart attack. He was only 34 and ostensibly bound for greatness. Saddened by Tonnies' premature death, his fans rallied together to preserve his memory online by posting remembrances. and keeping the now 10 year old blog up and running. It's fascinating as a case study in how communities honor the dead online, pre-Facebook.
Curious to learn more about Tonnies, I browsed the blogspot memorial site. It quickly became apparent that reading 300 pages worth of material on an outdated blog it would offer neither an efficient nor pleasurable reading experience. Fortunately, the entirety of Posthuman Blues is available in paperback on Amazon. It's been a pleasure reading through two volumes of Tonnies' writing in paperback. The posts feel very much alive and somehow timeless in the form of a book in a way that they wouldn't in their original, timestamped context online. Tonnies' reflections vary in length from 2-500 word essays, and rants on the decline of western civilization at the turn of the millennium, interspersed with kernels of science fiction ideas and unpublished works of fiction.
It led me to wonder how many other critically acclaimed blogs or web-based micro fictions have made it into print. Probably a vanishingly small number relative to the boundless blogosphere, though I would like to see more of these born-digital blogs make it into book form.