Scattering Digital Ashes: Remembering Doug Meis

July 14, 2009 § 3 Comments

Photo by Brian Doherty.

Photo by Brian Doherty.

UPDATE: Join us at Schuba’s on 8/2 for the Doug Meis memorial scholarship fundraiser. Details here:

Four years ago today, my dear friend Doug Meis passed away.

Each year, I struggle to find the best way to remember him on this day. As is typically the case with loss, nothing ever seems to suffice.

I’ve found that the most comforting way to remember Doug is through the fragments of his life he left behind on the web. Doug didn’t live to see the Web 2.0 boom we’re experiencing today, but he did share a great deal of himself in tour blog entries for his band, Exo. Memories of Doug also live on in footage I filmed during our senior year of college and in digital photos and film clips of his performances.

It’s as if these were his digital ashes, scattered in the ether.

So today, while I travel to Atlanta for business, I take a look back at Doug’s travels with Exo. Doug’s infectious humor shines brightly in these little anecdotes and films from his life on the road as a musician. The band blog entries he wrote (those signed DRM), memorialize Doug’s universally-loved qualities: His energetic language of music and brilliantly infectious sense of humor.

What happens to your data when you die? This is a question we’ll increasingly ask ourselves in the years ahead. We see our status updates, tweets, photos, and footage as having fleeting, ephemeral value. But these moments can become intensely precious when we move on — even those mundane little Facebook status updates about what we ate for dinner. It’s encouraging to see innovation happening in this space with startups like I believe this is evidence that a new category of “digital estate planning” services is on the horizon.

Doug, we miss you . . . out there in the ether.

UPDATE: Social Media guru Scott Meis has written a deeply moving and insightful piece about Doug, John, and Michael here.


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