[Air-L] Introducing myself

Nishant Shah itsnishant at gmail.com
Fri Jul 3 12:27:21 PDT 2009

Hi Mariana,
Thanks for the introduction to your work. It sounds quite fascinating and
indeed has seen some parallels in India. Especially with a couple of
high-profile cases which found a lot of publicity in the mainstream media,
and were dubbed facetiously as 'Orkut Deaths', we saw a similar phenomenon
in India. In both the cases, the two young people who died, left active
profiles which were at the centre of a great public debate and resulted in
thousands upon thousands of people coming to see, to comment and to leave
testimonials and messages of grief, condolence, and anger at the tragic turn
of events. I had written a small Op-ed for a national daily that gives some
of this information which you can research further (
http://www.hindu.com/mag/2007/09/02/stories/2007090250010100.htm ). I also
have a chapter in my PhD thesis that deals with these two cases and gives
more details about the same. Please let me know if you would like to have a
look at them and I will email it to you in person.

One of the more important thing about these live profiles of people who had
passed away, was also the appearance of clones. There were suddenly many
people who were creating 'false' accounts, appropriating the persona of the
dead, and also receiving a lot of comments and scraps.I found this
particularly interesting because these accounts were accurate in the
information about the dead persons and also appropriated their pictures,
creating elaborate false networks and photo albums to create a certain
notion of authenticity.

Hope this information is helpful to you,


On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 8:50 PM, Mariana Matos <
marianasantiagodematos at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello there!
> I've been on the list for almost 2 months, but, until now, I've just read
> what people were writing. And I must say there are many interesting topics
> being discussed! However, I'd like to introduce myself and share with you
> all information about my research subject.
> I'm a psychologist from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a PhD student at PUC-Rio
> (the Catholic University). I'm part of a group of researchers who have been
> studying the psychological and social impacts of the use of technology such
> as the Internet, cell phones, games, and some others. The group is leaded by
> Professor Ana Maria Nicolaci-da-Costa, who's been researching on this
> subject since the very beggining of the use of Internet in Brazil.
> My research in on the habit of writing scraps, on Orkut (the most popular
> social network site in Brazil), to people who died and left their profiles
> active. As you should know, if someone dies, the profile may still be
> active, what happens if no one deletes it or asks the site to delete it.
> I've been observing that a substantial number of dead people's profile
> receive a great amount of messages, writen often by close friends and
> family. In these messages, they "talk" about their feelings, tell the dead
> about their quotidian (i.e. what they did in the weekend), talk about their
> memories etc.
> I have the impression that this is a brazilian phenomenon, and I'd like to
> ask you if you see something similar in your countries, even if people use
> other SNS, like Facebook or any other. Do you know people who died and let
> their profiles? Do you know if they still receive messages, even if more
> than one year have passed since the death?
> Best regards,
> Mariana Matos-Silva
> PhD Student
> PUC-Rio
> Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
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Nishant Shah
Doctoral Candidate, CSCS, Bangalore.
Director (Research), Centre for Internet and Society,( www.cis-india.org )
Asia Awards Fellow, 2008-09
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