Social Media Family Announcements… a free for all?

I don’t know if I’m over reacting because I am uber sensitive about death right now or what but one thing that really annoys me is when people post statuses on Facebook about someone who has died. You know the type who on their own wall might post a photo of someone and a RIP message. I don’t mean someone close to them but of someone they knew in passing or barely knew or who at the absolute best was a friend or distant relative.

Today I sat and cried for a long time when I saw via such a message that a friend of mine’s son had passed away suddenly in his early twenties. His passing and thinking of the grief his parents must be going through caused me sorrow enough but to see it ‘advertised’ (believe me I’m trying to find a better word) on the Facebook of an acquaintance complete with photograph lifted from one of the boy’s family member’s Facebook page seriously angered, shocked, infuriated, hurt and upset me.

Immediately I saw the status I was in disbelief, I tried to establish just by reading that the person in the photo was who I thought he was and that he had actually died. Then I didn’t know what to do. Should I call my friend, go over, what should I do, I felt helpless. I know I’m much closer to her and the family than the person who posted the status. But now I knew, it didn’t matter how I knew, I felt I had to act. Before I worked out what to do my phone rang and it was one of his siblings calling to tell me at his mother’s request what had happened, I didn’t want to say that I already knew, especially when I was told that he had only passed away a few hours earlier. I was aghast, it was around an hour since I saw the FB post, I checked and the FB post had been made less than an hour after the boy died. A read down the comments showed that the person writing the status had been passing the kid’s house when the body was being removed and had stopped to ask what was happening and a neighbour who had rushed to help had explained who had died and how to her.

This made me more angry, I felt it was terribly insensitive to do that, to make that announcement about someone else’s child, to incite dozens of people to comment asking who he was, what had happened to him, where he lived and such and a list of nothing short of gossip to ensue. I didn’t read it all I skimmed initially to check the facts and I’d never go back and read it all in detail. I even felt guilty for reading it myself, I felt like a vulture even though I had been told by the family. I questioned myself for reading but satisfied myself that I couldn’t avoid it, it was there on my news feed, I was compelled to establish if it was who I thought it was and what had happened even though I hated myself for doing that.

The conversations about the kid between people who didn’t know him really sickened me though. It’s like social media dehumanises people and leaves nothing sacred. It’s abhorent, if that was my child being discussed before he was cold I don’t know how I would handle my emotions.

I resented that I had to lie to his brother and act as if I didn’t know to save them from my telling them that it had already made it to Facebook, I know her she would be devastated to know her family and her child were being discussed as they were.

I just hated the whole thing and got to a point where I wasn’t sure if I was crying for the loss or crying because of the outrage at the FB post.

I don’t know if I’m old fashioned and this is just the future of family announcements now and anyone with the ‘knowledge’ of a family event has a right to make that announcement. I don’t know. All I do know is that I don’t like it.

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3 thoughts on “Social Media Family Announcements… a free for all?”

  1. The family probably had already heard it was on facebook and that is why they rang you so quickly, before you saw it. But I understand your reaction, mostly from shock, but it is a natural form of communication these days. It is yet another way for people to deal with their own emotions when confronted with something like this. You would have done yourself a favour by not going back to look the second time, now you feel complicit.

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    1. Thats true it was like knowing it was there was compelling me to look like slowimg down for a car accident on the other carriageway although I don’t do that. I hope when I meet my maker the social media announcement is done by someone I know and spelled correctly too. Life and death are changing I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

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