Dealing With Loss on Social Media

I think about how much of our lives are driven by social media. It’s hard for me to remember what life was like before it. I grew up in the 90’s right at the peek of the internet boom and by the time I had gotten to high school, MySpace was taking over all of our young lives. Before then, it was AIM, and dial up internet where you had to choose between talking on the phone or surfing the web. It was around the time where rather than spending hours at the library sifting through the index drawers for books and research material you just paid the librarian .10 cents and used Britannica online for an hour instead. It was a time where if the library was crowded and there wasn’t an empty computer in the lab, you could pay .30 cents for an hour at a Cybercafe with all the nerdy computer gamers and their multi-functional joystick controllers.

Nowadays, social media has become our way of keeping up with society. It’s where we get our news with simple links that find their way on to our Facebook news feeds and Twitter timelines. It’s how we keep in touch with friends and relatives across oceans and state borders. It’s where we go to celebrate success stories like job promotions, proposals and baby announcements. It’s where we go to deal with loss like the death of a family member, being laid off from work, or a bad break up. And it’s where we go to vent when we’re angry, sad, and hurt, but I wonder how would we deal with and cope with so many things in our lives if we didn’t have social media. Would we be forced to build stronger bonds with people? How would we deal with sadness and anger if we didn’t have a social platform to post? What if no one could see that proposal you accepted or that job promotion? What if no one knew that you finally kicked that cheating boyfriend to the curb? How would you deal? Would it make you any less happy, sad, or angry? No, right? IMG_2914

For the past two weeks my family and I have been dealing and coping with an unexpected loss. It’s taken a toll on everyone at different levels and we’ve all grieved differently, but the hurt is still there. My younger cousins took to social media to remember her. They took to social media to help them cope and gain the emotional support of their friends and prayers and thoughts. My process was a lot more intimate. I didn’t post on social media until I could deal with it on my own. I realize that we each have our own grieving processes, but what I couldn’t understand was how post were going up while we were still at the hospital in shock about what had happened to her. I was too busy crying and comforting my family members in that moment to even think of finding a picture of her and posting it online with a heartfelt message. It still hadn’t sunk in with me. It didn’t until the funeral, yesterday…two weeks later.

Today’s generation would not know how to function without modern technology, more specifically social media. When it comes to making death announcements via social media it can be tricky. Unless you are at a place where you are comfortable with grieving don’t do it because you will be bombarded with loads of questions from friends and followers. Also, consider the fact that death is a very intimate experience that affects the entire family. If a support system is what you need, turn to your family who is also grieving. Unless, this person was a community activist or well known in the neighborhood, ask yourself what would posting on social media possibly do for you?

Even though I share a lot of my experiences on here with you all, I am a very private person unless I think it is a teachable moment that could help someone. At times as a writer and blogger, I too get overwhelmed with media and social media to the point where I just need a few days to just shut it all down and take a day or two to myself for myself, friends and family.


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