Access To Digital Tools Is Giving Us New Ways To Mourn Death And Loss

May 19, 2013
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It has been a natural progression for people to share their feelings and experiences on social media the same way they share all their other experiences. The access to digital tools is giving us new ways to mourn death and loss.

Kristie West, a Grief Specialist based in London, said that collective grief can happen on a much larger and much more open scale through social media. Sharing thoughts and feelings with millions of people around the world can now be easily done with social media, which also provides a platform for interaction between them. In response to such deaths and disaster, solidarity and support are often shown through a formation of Facebook groups, as an example, bringing a community connection.

Grieving Online

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West also said that social media has changed the way we connect with others and it is transforming the method of how people express and share their grief in the event of a death. With social media, she believes that people can be more open about their experiences. It also puts the topics of death and grief in others more often, which is really important, as it adds more awareness surrounding death.

Many popular social media websites are able to memorialise a person’s profile after they die, or provide the opportunity to create a shrine to a lost loved one, for example:

A new set of tools to grieve online:

  • Grief Forums – Just like you can join the Facebook or the Pinterest online community, there are a number of social networks dedicated to bringing together mourners who want to memorialise a loved one, share memories and share their grief experience to help them deal with their loss.
  • Online Memorial – There are also dedicated websites which will allow you to create a digital memorial of your loved one, archive photos, profiles, letters and documents, as well as access their final message. This creates a place for people to remember their loved ones.
  • Pinterest Shrine – Allows loved ones to pin photos and letters of a person who has passed away, to create a visual memorial online.
  • Tweet to Remember – Memories can be shared and loved ones memorialised through Twitter with the use of hashtags, allowing friends and family to track memories or photos posted about a person.
  • MySpace Death – This is a catalogue of MySpace users who have passed away, and offers a forum and archive where loved ones can go to share their grief and work through their experiences.
  • Facebook Memorial – Facebook is able to turn an ordinary profile page into a memorial page after the person dies, to allow friends to continue to post messages of love and support for the family, while removing the deceased person’s wall posts and contact details. Another option is to create a private Facebook group which is accessible by invitation only, to allow friends and family to share memories, messages and photos.

[Source]

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