“Hello Cats and Kittens”
I struggled with our readings for class this week. The content seemed very hard to deal with, maybe it is because I am having an “off” week as education week was very busy at our school; but I don’t think that is why. I am sure that I am having a hard time because we lost a staff member at our school this year, on the second day of classes. Needless to say, the year did not start off the way we planned. Maybe I am having a hard time too because the staff member who passed away was our vice-principal, a good friend of mine, and now a position in which I am currently occupying at school, acting vice-principal. This is the most personal post that I have written, and I am surprised that I am okay with writing it, but I am. One required reading for this week, Split Screen, really struck a cord with me as did She’s Still Dying on Facebook, both of these posts ignited in me a wonderment of grief and if there was a good way to grieve via social media? Is social media a healthy avenue for allowing the bereavement process to take place? In the video below, one statement made by Amrah Braha 5:32 resonated: “Grief is done in isolation often”, she explains that social media creates a community of those grieving for the same person, a connection.
Although both Split Screen and the above video, In Memory, have to do with someone whom has chosen to end their life due to suicide, it was the social media aspects that resonated, each in their own way. In Split Screen we saw that nothing as it seems, most times we only post the happy / perfect moments on social media (I know that I do and I really feel that that is the norm), In Memory shows us how real connections over grief can be comforting.
I went digging on-line to see how many articles/videos there were on death and social media. I often wondered what happened to social media accounts such as Facebook when one dies. As educators, we will unfortunately bury at least one student over the course of our career. I am one of those whom already has, and her social media accounts are still open and active. This student died 5 years ago, there are current posts from her friends on her site today. She has become somewhat of a celebrity, just because she died. The article Facebook and Death explains how we can all die like celebrities thanks to social media. When someone died pre-Facebook, we would receive a phone call, now we are often finding out via social media when someone has passed away. I knew that our vice principal passed away before I received the “phone tree phone call”, in fact I had a staff member call me to ask if this was true and I was shocked. But since his death many have been posting to his page, and if not posting to his page, they are looking at it to see who has been posting and what has been placed there. I agree with Mrs. Braha, social media really has brought together a sense of community for those grieving the same person, it has shortened the distance between everyone and created a common area to share our memories with his family as explained in the article Positive Technology. In my case, social media was good for dealing with my grief of my friend and co-worker, as I am sure it is for my former students dealing with the loss of their friend.