Have you heard about Alan Dein’s BBC program called Don’t Log Off in which he invites online strangers to talk to him. He is back with part two and the human stories are truly fascinating. The other side to these stories is the way technology enables us to connect with total strangers and the resultant relationships. In the current series, an American man talks to Alan about a Russian woman he met online and in yesterday’s episode Alan was at their wedding in America
As I was getting ready to settle down to tune in to the latest episode I logged into Twitter to catch up with snippets of information from my own online connections, most of whom, I have never met but feel I know all so well from their tweets.
The first tweet I saw was a retweet from my connection @Ruthaine and it said
— Aine (@Ruthaine) October 25, 2013
The tweet told me that @aklugard my online connection had logged off permanently and I would never read another tweet from him
I connected with @aklugard and @pmagelah through Ruth who I met at the Villages In Action conference in Uganda. For the best part of last year we tweeted each other and I grew to like these total strangers and when I was due out to Uganda in February I was determined to meet them all in person but sadly @aklugard could not make it from Kenya to Uganda due to work commitments.
On my return life got in the way and this is the last tweet I exchanged with @aklugard
— A.K.Lugard (@AKLugard) March 21, 2013
Since learning about his death I have been filled with guilt, that over the intervening months I had not noticed that @aklugard had stopped tweeting on 7 April 2013 the day before his death in a car accident. I was sad too that such a young life with a lot of promise had been cut short in such a tragic way
I didn’t really know @aklugard in the true sense of knowing someone, but from his tweets, I gathered that he loved his work, enjoyed life to the full, loved rugby , he had a good sense of humour and didn’t take himself too seriously.
One thing I didn’t count on was that the death of this stranger would affect me so profoundly and the bizarre twist in this tale is that without technology we would never have known about @aklugard’s death. I din’t know his sister whose tweet was retweeted by @ruthaine!