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Famous types spend lots of money fashioning their online presence and controlling the rank of organic search results for their names. But I think the converse could make for a pretty fabulous publicity stunt: temporarily abolishing their names from the interwebs altogether. Take Rudolf Steiner, the late Austrian philosopher and founder of Biodynamic Agriculture, among many many other things. Knowing he was nearing the end of his life, he started giving up to four lectures a day on his teachings. Also knowing he was nearing the end of his life, people listened and documented them. But it was after the end of his life, so these stories tend to go, that sales of his work surged. Now take Ken Wilber, the American philosopher and founder of the Integral Institute, among many many other things. Imagine if Wilber hinted he was departing from this world, spoke/wrote furiously for a stint, and then vanished from the web. Not a trace of him to be found by a Google spider.* Granted this would take some seriously expensive hackery. But it might inspire a premature surge in sales of his work, if not attract publicity. This is semi-similar to how Tupac was thought to have imitated Machiavelli in faking his own death, and would return in time, but in the digital universe. And why it's more interesting to me than simply faking one’s death, I'm not sure. I think I like the idea of digital disappearance; of anti-publicity as publicity.

*Update: I just learned from a developer friend that this is kinda impossible because of internet archives, i.e. only recent traces would disappear but anything older would hang out in [relative] perpetuity. Shucks. But I still like the idea, so please just consider it conceptual art.

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