This and following pics from 'The Last Message Received' blog
15-year-old Emily Trunko is something of a savant for the creation of depressing-yet-true Tumblr blogs. Via Katie Rogers of the New York Times, Trunko's first blog, titled 'Dear My Blank,' was a repository for anonymous letters people will never send, to the tune of 17,000 submissions. Now, Trunko has created a new blog that is garnering attention not just for its poignancy, but also for the way it demonstrates how we now live our lives, even the worst moments, digitally.
'The Last Message Received,' according to its description, "contain[s] submissions of the last messages people received from ex-friends or ex-significant others, as well as from deceased friends, significant others, and relatives." And while it is about as cheerful as you might imagine, the insight provided by the various submissions is invaluable in seeing how we now communicate with each other.
Some of the entries are simple text descriptions. Some are screengrabs of text exchanges. Some are small and petty, the final spat that ends a relationship. Some are cries of frustration about a 'best friend' or significant other who decided one day to simply stop communicating and take their leave of a person. Some are downright tragic, as normal exchanges via smart phone become the final reminder of a loved-one who passed away suddenly.
As noted by Rogers in her piece, this isn't the first time people have used a new medium to share things they couldn't tell anyone else, as sites like PostSecret have been allowing people to get things off their chest to internet strangers for years. But where that was more of an art project that got people to make creative postcards out of their hidden sides, 'The Last Message Received' has none of that artistic processing. It is a much more raw display of how we live now.
The blog shows how the tragedies of our lives, both large and small, are largely unchanged from what they used to be. They have simply moved from phone calls and face-to-face confrontations and passive-aggressive voicemails to digital communications. Our new online lives may have changed how these moment look and work, but it doesn't change how they are simultaneously quotidian, yet heartbreaking.
It is a fairly obvious observation that we are now living more and more of our lives online. We communicate with our families through social media. We arrange things with our friends via text. We organize our lives via calendars connected to the cloud. So it should come as no surprise to us that the parts of our lives that we struggle with would also move there as well. Except, where a breakup, or final conversation, or last goodbye would previously have to survive as a memory, it can now survive digitally. Just like the rest of the ephemera in our increasingly electronic lives.