Death and Social Networking

I wanted to write a knee jerk reaction many number of times to the “celebratory method” that people announce death on social networking sites.

But. Reacting on Twitter is an impossibility within the letter allowance. And also very easy to misconstrue. Facebook, well, it’s Facebook.
I have always winced when people have written the words “RIP” “insert famous person’s name here.” I know that it is a statement relating to the fact that you are saddened by the loss of someone that has had an affect on your life, but it seems so succinct and abbreviated. A moment in your timeline, and it’s gone. It bothers me. But there was at point at which it really bothered me and that was when I lost a very close friend this summer. This person also happened to be in the public eye.  Within hours Twitter and Facebook were alight with sadness.
Amongst all of it, people paying their genuine respects, people that obviously cared, and those that wrote the words RIP.
I guess I should have felt touched, but somehow it made things worse. The internet became a digital shrine from which there was no escape, and for me, it felt so temporary and removed. Unlike a grave you can visit, or a place that reminds you, or a memorial. A screen filled with zero’s and one’s that one day could just vanish.
To me, death is a very private thing. It has been something that I have had to come to terms with pretty much all of my life. Something that has always directly affected me for the majority of my life. For those reasons I have learnt to treat it respectfully and to fear it, knowing the damage it can cause not only to yourself, but to those around you.
Whatever your association to death may be, I still believe that there should be an etiquette. You can pay your respects in more than three letters, something the LOL generation needs to learn. I also feel like there is a time and a place, regardless of that persons social stature.
I find that people’s ability to appear cold, else thoughtless in light of some one else’s tragedy, is pretty frequent. I guess this is a sign of our times, but I find this behavior to be no different to those that stop to look at a car crash. Making a joke, passing an “alternative” comment, giving a negative opinion, or starting a debate within minutes of an “internet” announcement, to me, just feels inappropriate.
You wouldn’t do the same thing if it were a relative, or a close friend, well at least I imagine you wouldn’t. Who knows in this day and age.
What you write online has the chance of being seen my millions of people. What you write can be read by those directly affected.
No matter what you think, that person is dealing with something that is desperately sad and raw to them. Those are the people that you need to think about.
The ones that get left behind.
Don’t you think it’s right to let that person, and the people directly affected, have a moment to breath, comprehend, and come to terms with their personal tragedy, before you bombard the world with a thought or an opinion?
Maybe I’m alone here. Maybe I sound preachy. Maybe I’m just being normal. Ultimately, these are my words, and this how I feel.
Luke