Grieving on Social Media
Grief resources are among cremation services offered in Phoenix, AZ. Social media’s original purpose was to bring people together in a virtual community. The framework of social media was that people who had things in common (friends, birth places, schools, hobbies, work, etc.) could be connected in a network that was constantly expanding.
This idea of the ever-expanding network of connections has been incredibly successful. However, although social media has reconnected people who have lost touch with each other or friends and colleagues around the world, it has also brought people into those networks who are not real connections in life, but connections of connections.
However, many people thrive in this idea – because that’s all social media is – of belonging to a large interconnected community. This, in turn, can lead to them sharing every single detail of their lives, every single day of their lives.
Social media holds out the lure that a vast empathetic and breathless audience is waiting at the ready to listen, to provide support, to offer comfort, and to jump in and help.
That is why social media has become the place to go to grieve publicly after someone we love dies. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s on social media that family members and friends first hear about the death of someone they love and care about.
People share all the details of how their loved one died. They share the details of funeral arrangements. They share the obituary. In short, they share everything related to their loved one’s death.
After the funeral, people often turn to social media to grieve their loss. Social media has accommodated this by transitioning the accounts of people who have died into memorial walls, where people can leave comments and condolences.
Where before social media, people shared only the most intimate parts of their grieving process with a few close friends or one or two family members. Now, many people mistake the anonymity of social media for an intimate venue and share the deepest parts of their grief with their entire social network.
For some people, seeing this play out may give them more empathy, compassion, and sensitivity when they’re dealing with people in real life who’ve had a loved one die.
However, other people may become impatient with emotional processes that they see as negative. Grief is one of those negative emotional processes. For people who are not as familiar with death and grief, death is simply something that a person who is grieving will get over in a short period of time.
Therefore, if someone grieves deeply on social media for too long and too much, they can sometimes experience very painful and hurtful results, as the societal expectation of a short period of time being allocated to a negative process is imposed.
People can say very insensitive things like, “You’ll be fine. You just need to get over it.,” or “You need to be happy and everything will be better.” People may criticize the person’s grief as weakness or mental illness. People may even suggest that grief is guilt or regret that needs to be professionally dealt with.
People often find that expressing their grief on social media should be limited, and what they really need to do is to find real people (close family members, trusted friends, professional counselors, or grief support groups) to share the most heartbreaking and unending parts of their grief process with.