Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Tuesday Chattery - In Which We Chat About Social Media Sympathies & Condolences

Hey All and welcome back to The Chattery


We passed by Jervis Street last night and the footpath was filled with flowers and dedications to Yao Webster from Donabate in Dublin who lost her life there yesterday in a road traffic accident. It was only when we arrived home that we learned that Peaches Geldof had passed away too. Two huge shocks for two heartbroken families and, to a much lesser extent, for those of us learning of the news. 

There has been much debate online about people tweeting and updating their Facebook to offer condolences to people they didn't know and whether it is, in fact, 
attention seeking behaviour for themselves. 

I don't think it is, for the most part, it is human nature to react with shock to a life cut short, regardless of our connection to that life and to feel empathy toward a family in grief. 

Tell us, what do you think of people using social media to offer their sympathies to celebs who have recently passed or to those documented in the media? 

Let's Chat!

10 comments:

Roses and Rockets said...

I'm the same age as Peaches and always read her articles since I was a teen myself.
I followed her on social media sites and because of that her pictures and videos became part of my daily life even if from behind a laptop screen. And I'll miss that. I don't see anything wrong in expressing that. I've lost many people in my own life so I understand the difference of grieving for someone close to you. I feel sad that she died and I'll miss her presence in my life even if it was just an online one.

david Tobin said...

I think its akin to the likes of Elvis dying. Sure not many will ever gain that level of notoriety , but its still someone who we may know, or have heard it. Its like the Jade Goody instance. Everyone and their mother hated her, yet when she got diagnosed there was pain and anguish, as if these people actually knew her.
There is also the fact that the internet can supercharge someone to said celebrity-ism. Up until a few years ago the net was only used for napster and emails, now with the emergence of smart phones and tablets, twitter and facebook, you can hear about these things as they happen, instead of hearing it on the news.
I still live in a lil bubble, not listening to the radio at all * I hate the ads and the inane fecking chats about crap, just play the songs ffs, and I didnt even know about the jervis street instance until I texted someone to tell them I was there. Its strange to think that I didnt hear about that accident on facebook before I left for town and yet when I came home the newsfeed from my book of faces was full of Peaches stuff.
Its not that my level of friends only are the celebrity commenters, I usually do hear of this. I just think that some people can feel an affinity to someone who has been in the limelight for a while. As roses & rockets says.

oh and if anyone would like a non sleeping 12 month old please let me know. hes nearly standing with 8 teeth, looks as cute as a button but woke up at 230ish and wouldnt go back :(

sarah said...

Can I just say, I was on the luas involved in the crash that resulted in the death of that young woman and sadly I witnessed the whole thing. A huge thank you for telling me her name and where she was from as I didn't know but had been wondering. Now I can send my thought towards her family in a more direct way. X

Breeda O'Toole said...

I think people were always interested in celebs - I certainly remember where I was when John Lennon was killed - there would have been as much interest - we just didn't have the social media platforms that there are now - we had to actually 'talk' about it but it was certainly a topic -@david you're grand - we currently have Two grandchildren with us and 1 due imminently so I think we're good!

Samantha Johnston said...

I know some people don't like seeing it on fb and twitter as they think it's impersonal but I know when we had a very close family member die extrememly suddenly and unexpectedly, it was actually comforting to see how many people were thinking about him and how many lives he had touched. Celeb-wise I think that's to be expected really, and offering condolenses is something I don't have a problem with. It's when it turns to mockery and jokes is when I get sickened with social media.

britishbeautyblogger said...

Social media outlets are the place that anyone can say how they feel about a thing.. imagine if Twitter had been around when Elvis died? Offering sympathies via social media is only really appropriate I think when you don't personally know the person or people. I'd be horrified if my nearest and dearest died to get a tweet I think, from someone I know in real life! Twitter and other social media outlets are the easiest places to say the things that it's hard to say face to face - that's both good and bad I think - so while it's appropriate from a distance to express sympathies, it's inappropriate if it's your next door neighbour! I'm always a little uncomfortable as well with condolences that focus less on the sadness of the event and more about how it's made the writer feel - especially if they don't know said dead.

claire -musicandeverything.com said...

I find this intriguing because when Amy Winehouse died I was genuinely devasted. I was gutted. She was a hero of mine and I think the inevitablity made it so much worse yet people slated me for being openly upset and sorrowful about her passing. "What about other drug addicts who die every day"; yes, I feel for them, but Amy Winehouse genuinely affected my life. Her lyrics stung me at times and she put me on to a whole new genre of music. As cheesy as it sounds, she spoke to me on an emotional level through her music and when I learned that she was gone, it hurt. Just because we don't know someone doesn't mean we can't FEEL when they die.

I was devasted by the news of both deaths yesterday and to be honest, I find it offensive that some people will dictate where and towards to what others should direct their grief. Calling them sheep and idiots and mindless. That's what bothers me the most about people's commentary online. Not only is it insulting to think that you are so above someone that you can determine whether their condolences and sorrow are genuine, it is also dismissive of a tragedy that should and does cause people to feel emotional and think about their own lives.
Personally I was affected by the LUAS incident; the terrifying idea of leaving for work one morning and suddenly your life ending has really gotten to me. With Peaches, I'm only a year younger than her and I used to buy Elle Girl just to read what she was writing; I'm not a huge fan of her, I've never claimed to be but I was always aware of her opinions and followed her on instagram and was lately particularly interested in how such a young and vibrant woman can speak so passionately and coherently about parenting.
To see someone my own age just DIE is equally devasting. No one tragedy is more horrendous than the other and I think people should be free to publically express their shock and upset about it if they so wish. We're humans and when faced with mortality in anyway it is completely natural to feel sympathy and grief whether the death directly effects them or not. I don't see why anyone would have an issue with others expressing their condolonces unless they themselves are negative beings and/or slightly self-important.

Elaine McArdle said...

At this point it's to be expected, people turn to social media as an outlet to offer condolences. Social media gives a massive insight into celeb lives so I guess people feel they really do know them and are genuinely saddened by the news. I find it really upsetting when it's used to make jokes or speculate on what has happened, it seems to be forgotten that celebrities are people and have family and friends like the rest of us.

B said...

I think most of my friends who have expressed their sympathies for someone who has died using social media are genuine, I don't think any of them are doing it to get attention. That being said, I found out from Facebook that my uncle-in-law and someone I went to school with died before anyone told me in person and I found it hard to deal with. I have written short posts on my Facebook wall to explain how much I miss them. I think it's good that people are being more open about this, from what I've seen and experienced social media can be a good outlet and if you have family or friends they will be generally very supportive when you've had a bereavement or miscarried.

claire -musicandeverything.com said...

I agree with Elaine about the speculation going on on Social media. Particularly as so many people already have Peaches Geldof's death down as a suicide without any proof or news releases. It's unfair to speculate.