Coping with Death By Social Networking??

Posted on April 26, 2010. Filed under: personal, reflection, Social Networking, teaching and learning, Technology | Tags: , |

Today I was on Facebook and realized that three of my Facebook friends (younger girls from the youth group I work at, or girls I coached cheerleading to) had joined a memorial group that was made for a young Regina girl who passed away this weekend.  I don’t know the details, but from reading some of the comments on the page, the death sounded sudden and possibly tragic.  Some of the deceased’s friends have put pictures up on this Facebook page and tagged the girl who had just died.  I find the idea of tagging someone who has died really interesting because of the fact that he/she is no longer able to respond or interact in this way.

This isn’t the first time that people deal with other’s deaths through social networking. I just think of the amount of Twitter and Facebook feeds that have to do with death, especially a celebrity death like Michael Jackson or Brittany Murphy.  Perhaps people feel like they are paying respect by changing their statuses or making a page.  Maybe others are just doing it for “gossip’s sake.”  But this is truly the new way of posting obituaries, and I have to say it is a lot faster and more efficient, and I say this as respectively as possible.

For me as an educator, it raises the question of how we need to deal with death in the classroom.  Are their certain outlets, including technology, that we can use to help our students cope with death?  Death is a part of life, but depending on your background, death can be handled in completely different ways.  How do we find the balance for our individual students within a diverse classroom?  Should it be ignored? My answer is of course not, but it is a road that I will tread lightly and as carefully as possible, that’s for sure.  As for coping with death through social networking, I guess I think it is fine as long as it is done with respect and care.

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3 Responses to “Coping with Death By Social Networking??”

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I know for myself, when someone I know passes I post it via facebook, twitter, etc if I’m “feeling” something about it. In other words, I miss them or am shocked or something like that. It is interesting though if you really think about it why do people feel the need to share that on social networking sites? Maybe it’s a way of dealing with it or letting other people know what is important to you? As for deaths in the classroom, that is something that would be REALLY tough! I couldn’t even imaging having to go through that. I guess I would just want to have a celebration of that person maybe? It’s so hard to say without being in that situation, knowing your students reactions, etc. Great ideas/post though!

I understand what you are saying. Death is very hard to cope with especailly if you have not dealt with it especailly someone who is close to you. I actually am trying to deal with it right now. My grandpa passed away on thursday, he had been in the hospital for a few weeks, but seemed to be doing okay. From one moment sitting in the hospital to the next getting hundreds of phone calls, flowers, cards. It’s all so nice to hear and see that so many people all around you care and are there for you. To see so many familiar faces at the funeral really makes its so much easier for me that is. However one of the first things I did when I got up on thursday morning was change my status on facebook, I did it because I wanted people to know that he had passed away and do it in memory of him kind of thing. I think everyone has different reasons for what they do. But I don’t see there being a problem posting things like this, it lets people know faster and a much easier way to let many people know all at once.

Thank you Chelsea for feeling comfortable enough to share that. You are so right, death is extremely hard and it seems to make it easier when there are people supporting you, whether that’s online or in person. Joni, thank you for sharing that you also post about a death via Facebook or Twitter. It is a very common thing, and I guess that is why I was interested with the idea in the first place.


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