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Social Media Mourning

There was a time when bereaved people just … mourned. And got on with it. Yes, there were those whose tears would have made a crocodile, truly envious. I was stunned, when I heard about ‘professional mourners’ – these are folk who are hired to wail loudly and gesticulate wildly, at a funeral.

Then, social media happened.
Apart from arguably interfering with people’s ability to spell, reason and engage; it stripped some of the sense of shame that normal human beings are supposed to have.

From rsa.cwrl.utexas.edu

From rsa.cwrl.utexas.edu

Am I the only one who finds it really odd, when someone updates their Facebook status about a bereavement – and people ‘like’ it? Are they too lazy to communicate condolences; or are they actually saying “I like the fact that your person died”? I am confused. Even when some people think it’s a good idea to post gory pictures of accident victims/casualties, some others go and ‘like’ the pictures!

A part of me thinks it’s down to bare-faced indolence – I mean, this is a generation from which some would probably keel over and die, if they wrote out “Happy birthday” in full. As a human being (even before considering the ‘writer’ aspect), that irritates me because I think, “Wow! I’m not asking you to throw me a party or spend money on an expensive present. You can’t even manage two words?”

But that’s what social media has been reduced to. Instead of being utilised as a really powerful ‘network of networks’, it’s blamed for the dearth of relationships and the inability of people to maintain connections.
So, you have Twitter, where some people prefer to complete the entire grieving process in 140 characters or less – just before moving on swiftly to discuss a happening party, a new bag, the latest ‘beef’ they’re having or something just as inane.

Effusive displays make me cringe, to begin with. But when it is laced with so much fakery, shamelessness and insensitivity, it is actually frightening to watch. Being seen to be grieving on social media, is the new photo op. You didn’t know someone was ill – because, let’s face it, they weren’t important to you – but as soon as you hear they died, your “How do I make this about me?” instinct kicks in. So, you start acting like you were their Siamese twin.

It is not just ridiculous; I think it’s also an absolutely evil thing to do.

If you truly care for someone, you’ll take the time to ask them, “How are you?”
You’ll take the time to listen for the answer.
You won’t like the fact that they are hurting.
And you certainly wouldn’t reduce them to a publicity-hungry tweet.

All Rights Reserved, Chioma Nnani, 2015

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