I found this report on Global Voices very interesting. I'm not very familiar with the Brazilian blogworld -- the lusosphere -- but this week the big story from the big country in South America is about a Brazilian blogger who faked her own death, apparently because her blog presence was part of a study about social behaviour on the world wide web. The whole thing is found here, but here are a few excerpts:
... 2007 started with the Lusosphere being surprised by the announcement of the death of a well known blogger. MEG [Maria Elisa GuimarÃ£es] became famous as the editor of SubRosa, one of the first-generation blogs in Brazil, and also because of her relentless promotion of conversation among bloggers through an active and warm-hearted commenting and emailing activity. The eulogies performed throughout the Lusosphere gained a great deal of attention as MEG was darling to many of the first A-list Brazilian bloggers. Never-the-less, something peculiar about Megâ€™s announced death kept ringing in some of her closest friends.
The first report about the presumed fatality appeared in a post [â€™My Woman Diedâ€™] from Paulo JosÃ© Miranda, a Portuguese blogger who writes as if he were Megâ€™s husband, despite confessing that they met in person only once(!), during a weekend in Sao Paulo. There were details of a diagnosed cancer in Meg and a trip to New Yorkâ€™s Mount Sinai Hospital for specialized treatment. Contradictory signals started to arise when some bloggers found out that the IP address used by Meg in her â€˜lastâ€™ posts and comments was not from a US ISP, but it was instead coming from some place covered by Telemar Norte, a company providing Internet access to the northern region of Brazil. Reactions to the growing evidence that Megâ€™s death was a hoax, and that she was now online with another name [Tereza Quetzal] turned a mourning blogosphere into a crossfire of judgments.
The warning I make - as long as warnings have any practical usefulness â€” is: our blog is not our world, and is not our soul, and even less our heart. Our blog is just a space where we publish fragments of what we are. If we take it too seriously, it â€” the blog â€” will â€œkillâ€ us, even though virtually. A big hug to you, Ina, and be sure to never be killed, ok?
I have some information that I consider very accurate in relation to the facts. Meg is doing a study about human behavior in the Blogosphere. She is doing that and will soon launch a book which, according to my source, will be very good and enlightening. It can really provide an excellent x-ray about human behavior. When they heard that she died, everybody was praising her, she was the best person in the world, and now everything is quite the inverse. Iâ€™ve already ordered mine.