Coping or Exploitation?

In today’s ditigal age, we post everything on social media. We have the social world at the tips of our fingers 24-hours a day. This has brought forth many big questions to light today. How do we know the ethical guidelines? Where do we draw the line? When are personal information and feelings private and when are they public? Historically, we have been a nation of public coping, which moved to private, and is now becoming more public than ever. When an individual passes away, is it appropriate to share with the social media world what happened and how you are feeling?

Many believe this is a case of simply seeking support from other individuals who are dealing with the same loss. As a personal example, I recently experienced the loss of a old high school boyfried who took his own life. Upon his death, his Facebook page immediately became a shrine to his life and for people to share pictures and stories. Being that this was so sudden and unexpected for eveyone, including his family, this page offered some support and love to his family and all of his loved ones. Some of the posts looked like this:
From a close friend…
Kate to Andrew
17 hours ago.
So, I was driving home last night, and I was listening to the song “Smile in the Stars”, by Skerryvore. It’s about the loss of a loved one. That got me thinking about how missing your funeral will be one of my biggest regrets in life. I started to tear up when I saw my first shooting star fly across the sky. I miss you bud, but I’m fairly certain you sent that star to tell me everything is alright. love you.
From his brother…
Brandon posted to Andrew
December 11 via mobile.
I miss you brother wish you were here right now

Others believe that this is a form of exploitation. As we read in class, the tweets Scott Simon posted laying out the events of his mother’s death in grave detial were very controvercial. Many people said he was exploitating his mother’s death and was a form of disrespect. Some of the tweets were:

And right before her death:

Could this be harmful? What about collective greif? When inidivuals all build their greif off of one another, there is a possibility that it could cause them to feel more pain and greif then if they were not a part of this group. On the other hand, this could be considered a form of group therapy. Supporting one another and sharing stories and pictures of your loved one. The key is finding what works for you while maintaining respect for the loved one. It is important to remember that the passer is the most important in this situation. While you are very important and dealing with loss is an important part of the process, there are many ways to cope and rescources available to deal with the loss if the loved one would be uncomfortable with you sharing information about them with the social media world.

Lastly, it is amazing the power that social media allows us as a collective world, to share and celebrate the life of an individual:

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