Is Facebook a dying social network

Re: publica 2013 : Social media and dealing with death

Death is an issue that everyone, at some point in time, can, will and should deal with. In her lecture at the re: publica 2013, Elisabeth Rank, senior concept designer at Torben, Lucie and the yellow danger (tlgg) describes death as a taboo topic on social media. "RIP" is written quickly. The English abbreviation is even suitable for hashtag. When a celebrity dies, obituaries are written, publicly mourned, or at least a status message is written saying that one is mourning.
The situation is different in the case of a death in the personal vicinity. Personal dismay, a death in close proximity, also changes the way the topic is dealt with on the social web. The decision to make your grief and loss public is highly emotional and often not easy for outsiders to take in. The personal profile of a deceased can, especially in the immediate time after death, become a digital book of condolence and thus a place of active mourning work.

But public mourning has to be learned, even if there can be no right or wrong in dealing with such a final loss. Whether, how and in what form someone grieves in the social networks cannot be assessed rationally due to the high level of emotionality associated with the complex of topics.

The opportunity to postpone saying goodbye

But even if the network is as social as it is advertised by the networks, speaking and writing about death there is still a tightrope walk.

On the one hand, grief celebrated in this way has a banalizing effect, on the other hand the topic of grief is moving more into everyday life and also into public awareness. Digital empathy can simplify grief, as profiles, for relatives and those affected, can extend the existence of the loved one and accompany the grief process. Death seems, in some cases, less abrupt. One cannot prepare for the death of a loved one. Social networks give you the opportunity to delay saying goodbye a little longer. Because death and dying are accompanied by grief and going on. Especially for younger people who have not yet had to experience grief and loss, social networks can support this process.

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