Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Unk Hiram, Internet Friendships, and Bloggers

My friend, William (Bill) Hocutt, (age 48) died at home on August 28. Bill is better known as “Unk Hiram”. Under that name, Bill wrote “Unk Hiram’s Blog”, articles for two newspapers, the Leonard Graphic and the Celeste Tribune. His works in genealogy are too numerous to list.

I first heard of Bill about 8 months back while doing a Google search of my own blog (Something that I do from time to time to see who and what is being referenced). Unk Hiram’s Blog came up as one of the hits. It turned out that he had recommended my blog to his readers. I sent an e-mail thanking him for the recommendation. That led to a series of exchanges which resulted in what I call an “internet friendship.” In fact, the “comments are invited!” and “send feedback to:” statements seen at the end on most of my postings were ‘borrowed’ from Bill.

Bill posted his last three articles on August 16. When no updates followed for days, I sent e-mails which were never answered. Those days grew into weeks and then months, and still no reply. I had feared the worst after the first month and searched the Web for any reports on William Hocutt and Unk Hiram without results. It finally occurred to me to search for Bill Hocutt, and it was only then that I learned of his passing. He will be missed by the thousands of people whose lives he touched.

Rest in Peace dear Bill, and my condolences to those you left behind!

The death of my internet friend and fellow blogger has generated some deep thoughts about how our lives have been affected by internet communications.

Unlike most of our human relationships, the internet provides a single channel exchange. In most other cases, we have common friends and associates, or there is a network of other people involved. If, for example, a TV or radio personality were to suddenly not appear, there would be others telling us what had happened. Or if a friend becomes injured, then there will be a network of friends to spread the word. This is generally not the case with internet friends and bloggers. If the internet friend stops responding or a blogger stops posting, all we know is that the communication has stopped and that is rather sad!

Thanks to Lindsey for final editing!

Comments are invited!
Send feedback to: WatchDog@MindlessAndSpineless.com

1 comment:

Henri said...

It is a new strange world that we live in. As you say we can make "friends" that we only know via the electronic exchange. We only know them by what they write. Then one day they are gone--poof! Where did they go, sick? retired? fedup? dead? or perhaps we just ticked them off?

It is sad in deed that we may never know@!