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When You Go Offline and Don’t Come Back – Where is Melissa Stanford?

Friendships in this modern era take on many different forms but still the most popular form of friendship is the face to face, physical friendship.

In real life when someone you know dies or gets seriously ill, it only takes a few hours for that news to spread.  If you weren’t that close to someone but you knew of them, you may find out eventually but generally you will find out.

In this new era of the internet and Twitter and Facebook new types of friendships are formed.  Many of these people do not meet and do not have mutual friends.

What happens when you are friends with someone online and all of a sudden, they disappear?  This person who has disappeared offline is usually someone who would tweet a lot or update their blog a lot or post regular Facebook status updates.

One day they just stop all activity online.


What has happened to make this happen?

In some instances it is because the person has grown tired of this particular activity.  They get bored and move onto something else but usually they will tell their online friends that they are going and wish them well.

There are other reasons though such as someone dies or is incapacitated.  Some people’s online lives are secret to their friends and family.  Or if friends and family are aware of their online activities, some do not know their password to log in and tell their online friends what has happened to them.

The reason I am writing this today is because there is someone who I knew online who just disappeared and I am left wondering what happened to her.  This person had been sick but had not disclosed what ailment she had.  She had a successful travel blog about her desire to come to Australia (she’s American).  She tweeted regularly and updated her blogs Facebook profile often.

Then it all stopped.


No warning.

No goodbye.


Her accounts are all still active but there is no activity on them.  It is like she has disappeared off of the face of the earth.

Ok some people go offline for a few days or maybe a week or two.  Most often because they need a break or are away and cannot access the internet as much as they would want.  But this person has not updated in over 6 months and I gotta tell you I am a little worried about her and I am not the only one.

A mutual online friend has tried to make contact with her as well with no luck.

Her name is Melissa Stanford and her Twitter user name is @melissa_abroad and she hasn’t tweeted since September 21, 2010.  Here is her last tweet

In this tweet below, she tweeted about not being well but she did say she was getting better.  Then nothing.

About 10 days earlier she tweeted this;

You know from this that something was up.  I’m just not sure what it is/was.

Melissa’s twitter profile was pretty busy. She followed 431 people and was followed by 617.  This is a pretty good number for a non celeb.  She had tweeted 2,296 times which makes her a moderate user.  At this rate of tweets and followers you are considered to be a regular tweeter and you generally don’t just stop.

Her Facebook page has not been updated since August 25, 2010 either.

Her website, www.theinnocentabroad.com has recently been unavailable but when I last checked to see if Melissa was around about a month ago it was still up and running albeit with no new activity since August, 2010.  It is possible that Melissa has closed it down but why didn’t she also close down her Twitter and Facebook pages?  I think the reason the webpage is no longer accessible is because the account has not been renewed and the ISP has closed it.  That’s my gut feel.  Twitter and Facebook are both free so with no bills to be paid there is no need to close them down.

I asked a mutual Twitter friend @brookeschoenman if she had heard from Melissa and she said she hadn’t either but would send her an email as she had her address.  As of today, which is a month later, still no reply.

Melissa’s other online profiles are untouched as well including LinkedIn and Digg.

Melissa has dropped off of the online planet and she did it rapidly.

I am usually an optimistic person but I am afraid the worst has happened.  I have no evidence to prove otherwise but my gut feeling is that Melissa has passed away or is totally and permanently incapacitated.  I really hope I am wrong.

So if anyone who is reading this knows Melissa Stanford from Nevada in the United States, can you please shed some light on what has happened to her?  Sure we aren’t face to face friends, but we are all friends in a different form and we want to know what has happened to our lovely friend, Melissa.


UPDATE (2 May 2011)

Great news. A friend of Melissa’s saw this post and made contact and provided Melissa’s new email address. 

After corresponding via email, and in accordance with Melissa’s request, all I can say is that she is alive, which is the best news possible. 

Many thanks to everyone who has made a comment or forwarded this post around in an effort to find out what happened to Melissa.  Luckily this time, the outcome is a positive one.