Facebook a Platform for Life after Death…
I am constantly amazed by this world gone digital. The power of social media platforms to connect us in so many ways. Whether it is reconnecting or forging new bonds, ultimately, the medium impacts the population across the globe leading us to feel less isolated and alone. The user creates their desired persona (profile), delicately crafts their image just so to develop a life story of pictures and mini blogs, showing only what you truly want others to see.
I touched on the phenomena of social media in the capstone project I completed for my MPS in New Media and Internet Marketing. I entitled it “The Virtual Touch” Social Media Platforms, Video Marketing and Real-Time Chat Applications Addressing Consumer Demand for Authenticity and Engagement in Today’s Digital Marketplace. Part of it was a slight attempt to see into the future and touch on how our interactions with each other, not only how we do business, but how we relate to each other is forever changed by these digital applications which evolve at the speed of light.
Digital marketing is a transformative medium. We can Skype, real-time video chat. Visually seeing someone and their surroundings adds to the communication, making it a bit more personal than text, as nuances can be detected in body language. It is not a perfect substitute however, there remains, and thankfully so, nothing quite like face-to-face contact to fill your senses and complete the communication cycle.
Facebook-Better than Reality T.V.
Facebook still holds a very strong presence beginning with thirty somethings and a growing senior population. You may not know if you are still in a relationship until you check your status. The live feed indeed is full of life, drama and circumstance. Today after quickly thumbing through my news feed, I was moved to sit down and write immediately, while the thoughts were fresh. There was a public post by a former high school classmate in which she had written to a dear friend, who apparently committed suicide 6 months earlier. It was very emotional, heart-felt and beautifully constructed. I initially wondered if it was the introductory paragraph to a fiction novel she was writing? I was hooked, I wanted to read more. I clicked the link to the addressee’s name and it brought me to her Facebook page. It was filled with Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday messages; pictures of a young, healthy, very, much alive looking girl. And there was a picture of my high school classmate with the young lady in Italy. How nice, happy and young they all look, I thought to myself. Is this the girl that committed suicide, I questioned? The only indication on the page lending itself to any insight into a less than perky mental state was the cover photo, an artist’s painting, slightly disturbing in its ethereal nature. The darkness of the larger shadow seems to be telling the little glowing spirit, “you called me and now it is time to go.”
Your Heart will Go On
Can you hear the Celine Dion Theme song from Titanic?
I scrolled further and read a few posts written by friends and family. One exceptionally poignant update from the woman’s mother, thanking her for the time they had together and the joy she felt watching her grow into a beautiful, young woman. It was sad, a bit eerie, seeing posts and comments the woman, herself, wrote only a few months earlier. Not to mention, utterly ASTOUNDING that Facebook is keeping this girl alive. Facebook is providing a platform for loved ones to grieve, sharing their thoughts and memories. In doing so, her spirit lives on. It seemed to be therapeutic, aiding in the grieving process and all that is associated with losing someone so suddenly, including the immense guilt that others harbor when a loved one choses to take their own life. There were many posts filled with questions. Could I have stopped it, or done more? Maybe this forum gave them an opportunity to answer those questions or feel some relief while being comforted by others on the board.
Rest Well Little Spirit of Light.
As I gazed at the computer page looking at her profile, one would never know she was gone. There was indeed life on that page. I am in deep thought over what this all means. I found it very sad and a bit disturbing in that it can be a vehicle of denial. What if her Facebook page was how some people discovered she was gone or worse, think she is still alive? What if this form of preserving her, as if by Facebook breathing machine, keeps her from fully moving on? Maybe she wouldn’t want her Facebook to keep going when she had chosen to leave? These questions and emotions resonate. Moreover, I find it hopeful with plentiful messages of love, providing an ability to remember good times and come together in grief, thus letting the living continue to move forward. Remaining on the outer dermis (the most superficial of layers) 🙂 I can sum it up as: Facebook, you have transformed the way we conduct our relationships again! You are now a tool of the human spirit, keeping a soul alive to comfort those touched by it.
Rest Well Little Spirit of Light.