i’m really into public mourning and public displays of grief and it’s so interesting to see how it’s transposed onto social networking in the ~internet age~. my elderly aunt who was just diagnosed with end stage cancer died this morning, and my cousin made a status on facebook and tagged the now-dead woman in it, and she’s not the only one—so many posts just popped up of ‘[X] with [elderly aunt]’ or ‘[X] feeling sad' followed with a standard RIP, 'i'll love you and miss you' message.
i’ve seen so much of this when someone who had an internet presence dies; how facebook almost acts as a funeral or cemetery, with people leaving their condolences and expressing their own grief. facebook used to, i don’t know if they still do, turn accounts into memorial pages upon death if contacted by family, but even if an account isn’t turned people still return to leave comments on birthdays especially, but every now and then you see a comment out of nowhere of someone who was thinking about the deceased who used facebook, rather than their grave, as their medium to talk to them.
does it make it impersonal to say ‘i think of you all the time and miss you so much’ somewhere everyone else who is friends with the dead person can see it? do people take that into account when they leave comments? if they do take it into account and don’t feel comfortable, do they send private messages instead? do young people go to cemeteries or just visit the dead on facebook? how deeply does the internet influence the way people process grief?