Religion News Service posted a piece from PBS Video exploring the role of social media in grief and death. Interviews include Carla Sofka, a professor of social work at Siena College and author of the book Dying, Death, and Grief in an Online Universe:
Cyberspace just gives us a new place to grieve, a new place to create rituals, a new place to memorialize the death of someone you care about.
Other interviews include those impacted by the 2012 shootings in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, including Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, who lost their daughter. At her funeral, her friends came up and showed them the tributes and remembrances that had been posted online in their daughter’s memory.
Do real relationships, real emotions exist in social media? Funeral planner Jamie Sarche says no: social media “gives us the ‘idea’ of connection, but it’s anything but connection.” We are moving away from our face-to-face, physical-world relationships.
Social media was a source of prayer and support for Marcus Weaver, who was shot at Aurora but survived.
And social media was a source of reunion and comfort for Bonnie Lindberg as she was dying of a rare lung disease; the friends she re-connected with have remained part of her husband Roger’s life.
And technology is becoming another way for us to preserve our memories of loved ones, from Facebook memorial pages and YouTube tributes to QR codes on gravestones.
What do you think?
Photo: “(384-365) Candle light (6391517873)” by Sander van der Wel from Netherlands – [384/365] Candle light. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons