Saturday, June 11, 2016

How Social Media Expands the Space Between Mourning and Grief - The Atlantic

"Some argue that the likes of Facebook and Twitter have opened up public space for displays of grief that had been restricted to private spheres of secular culture. But rather than reconstructing an outlet for public grief, social media often reproduces the worst cultural failings surrounding death, namely platitudes that help those on the periphery of a tragedy rationalize what has happened, but obscure the uncomfortable, messy reality of loss.

Social media has increased the speed and ease of communication to an unprecedented degree, and yet sites like Facebook and Twitter are poorly suited to grief’s strangeness. By design, social media demands tidy conclusions, and dilutes tragedy so that it’s comprehensible even to those only distantly aware of what has happened. The majority of Facebook posts mourning Lauren’s death were full of “silver linings” comments that were so far removed from the horror of the reality that I found them isolating and offensive. Implicit in claims that Lauren was no longer suffering, or that “everything happens for a reason” are redemptive clauses—ones that have a silencing effect on those who find no value in their pain."

How Social Media Expands the Space Between Mourning and Grief - The Atlantic

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