I have two friends, Paul and Richard. They only know each other through me. What happens to that social connection when I die?
Normally all the social connections created through me after I die may slowly decay. As Richard and Paul die, only the physical artifacts (the photos, letters, etc.) remain. 100 years from now, their relationship to me and each other may be more dead and forgotten than I am.
The creation of a social reef.
Richard and Paul are both “friends” of mine on Facebook. When I die, my digital social skeleton (my Facebook profile) will still connect them, as long as my profile is in place.
Digital social skeletons would create a social reef, a skeletal framework like the great coral reefs. Social reefs would be made of millions of social connections devoid of the life that created them. The questions is whether or not the new online skeletons will decay over time, or whether they will become a foundation for a larger social reef to form on top of them.
All I can imagine are digital archeologists a hundred years from now, with super user access, spelunking into the caves of deceased social networks. Running data mining scripts that extract data and illuminate the past.