Spam After Death

Photo: A screen grab from a tribute video to Craig Manganello

I woke this morning to a direct message from an old friend. Not unusual in itself but this old friend @CraigManganello has been dead for 1,384 days.

Craig was a musician, artist and original member of Seesmic video. An online community like no other.

Craig touched many people’s hearts and minds. He rarely left the basement of his house and we were used to seeing him spontaneously compose a song while hooked up to oxygen.

A direct message nearly 4 years after Craig Manganello’s death.

I was momentarily bothered by the fact a spambot had taken control of his account. I know the bot can’t differentiate between the living and dead, but I had made a conscious decision to keep ‘following’ Craig so as to remember him. I liked the fact his face would occasionally pop up when I was browsing the past. I liked to be reminded.

Craig Manganello’s last online words.

Up until this morning his last few tweets were his last words. Casually shared moments reflecting concern for his health. He had no idea these were to be his last online words. Those that knew Craig knew that he wasn’t the kind to always talk about himself. I think his final words would have been a thank you. Perhaps to music and those around him.

It’s not for me to put words into his mouth after he has gone. Neither is it the job of a spambot.

It would be easy for Twitter to stop this happening. Other social sites have procedures in place.

I am glad that I can think and write about a friend nearly 4 years after his death. Although I am a little surprised we still have to nudge the larger social networks when it comes to certain easily solved digital legacy issues.


  1. Terry O'Fee says

    Damn! I remember him from the seesmic days. I didn’t realise he had passed away. so sad.

    and you’re right about twitter, its an amazing tool but there’s just some things they just don’t get, and it’s so so frustrating. i mean, even facebook are able to figure out that one…

  2. Geoff Hickman says

    I obviously still follow Craig as well. I was a little taken aback as to how angry I felt when that Spam DM hit my inbox but really, if there’s an upside to all this, it allows us to talk about and remember someone who had the kindest soul :)

    • says

       Hi Geoff (and Terry) It’s strange how we still follow the dead and in some cases keep their numbers on our phones. I am not sure if it’s a reluctance to let go or we like t be reminded of their existence. A digital memorial as such.

      • Terry O'Fee says

        i know what you mean. an old school friend of mine passed away last year, and for a long time i left him on my FB friends list. going through a friends culling the other night and it looks like one of his family finally removed the account – for a long time his facebook page was friends posting stuff on his wall, people all over the country leaving messages of condolences, maybe people who couldnt of made it to his funeral, especially since he moved from our home year some years before…

        • says

          Thanks for the comment Terry. I’m  not a big user of Facebook but I’m sure they have a system to lock down accounts belonging to the deceased.