My Digital Cemetery
Deleting the name of a dead friend from your phone can feel like removing that person from the world.
SAVANNAH, GA. - MY digital address book lists 2,743 contacts. This is not because I'm popular or extroverted; I'm neither. It's because this collection of names stretches back two decades, the oldest contacts tracing to a 1996 Palm Pilot and preserved through transfers involving more devices than I care to remember. It covers life in four cities and work on countless reporting projects. The idea of organizing and pruning this slow-motion data dump is by now unthinkable.
One result is that when I start to tap in the name of someone I'm looking for, I often turn up several others as well. Maybe an expert source on a subject I'll never write about again. Or the best plumber in a place where I no longer live. Possibly a former colleague I have since learned actively dislikes me. Probably at least one name I just can't place. And, perhaps, someone who is dead.