What internet websites about Death looked like in 1998. For those who remember that Dark Age.

In a distant time, called the 1990s, the Internet Cafe television programme(!) produced stories (for television) about the World Wide Web. In 1998, t

One of the many benefits working on the Future Cemetery Project yields is the opportunity to review how internet technology has been used to discuss death, dying, and the dead body. From 1996-2002, a television programme aired in America called the Internet Cafe. I love that this was a television programme about the web and websites. That's how new and exciting and interesting the Information Superhighway was for so many people.

In 1998, the Internet Cafe produced a programmed called Grim Reaper Websites. This is how the programme was described at that time:

A look at how web sites deal with the subject of death. Sites featured include an information site on cemeteries, a tribute to the passing of Jerry Garcia, a virtual 3D graveyard, the pop culture death pool, and a virtual pet cemetery.

Here is what I find most interesting about this entire programme. While it's true that these websites from 1998 are completely outdated and look like they're from a long ago time, the content (i.e., death and dying) can be found in the newest platforms. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Blogs (which almost seem a bit old now too) are all places that many, many people pursue these topics.


As we develop new technologies for the Future Cemetery Project (see Felicia's brilliant post Night at the Future Cemetery) I keep coming back to why cemeteries (as a human technology) have been so historically successful. Indeed, I don't see cemeteries disappearing anytime soon even if the overall burial rate declines.

Moving forward with the Future Cemetery means understanding that what's cool today on the web for death and dying will probably look very different in 10 years. Even five years. But that we humans will still figure out a way to put death and dying content onto those yet-to-be-seen platforms.

You can watch the Internet Cafe's Grim Reaper Websites programme here. Behold, an ancient and long lost land. It was called 1998.

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