Paying Respects with Twitter?

DJ Am overdosed, and died.   The heart felt 140 character wishes are heartwarming.  Twitter is a lame way to say goodbye.  If I die in the near future, save your 140 keystrokes.  Just say a prayer, or say nothing.  But PLEASE- no tweets.

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  • I don't have an opinion either way, but why is it lame? Do you mean it's lame just for celebrities to do it or the fans, too?

    There's been thousands of tweets for DJ AM (I aggregated some of them here: and Also did it for Jackson, Cronkite, Fawcett, Mays, etc.) People are increasingly using Twitter as a forum to express things they normally wouldn't be able to say, particularly to a celebrity (not because they died, but because they normally don't have access to them). If this is a way for them to feel like they're "talking" to them and paying their respects, why not?

  • I think that social networking is fine, but it is not a substitute for reaching out to offer condolences. As a way of expressing one's own sadness- fine. Bordering on lame if that is the only tool you can use to express emotions.

    But I have to say that I think that all the social networking forums and the pervasive use of cell phones to narrate the minute details of life creates a challenge to face-to-face interaction. I think it is unspeakably rude to babble in a cell phone during a dinner with a friend. I hate shoppers who narrate every move, ie "I am in produce, carrots are nice, " because it is narcissistic to think that that information needs to be disseminated. Kids learn that they can back handedly destroy classmates via facebook/my space/twitter. Empathy is lost. Silence is undervalued.

  • In reply to JanetDahl:

    I understand the points in your second paragrah. But that has nothing to do with what you posted and I what I commented.

    In regards to your first paragraph, what about the people that can't "reach out" and have "face-to-face interaction"? Fans can't/don't have those options, which is why they tweet those messages on Twitter. It's the only way for them to feel like they are reaching the person in question. Similarly, not every celebrity knows every other so they share the message on Twitter instead. Even those that do know the deceased, may use Twitter as way to release a statement about the death (rather than have the media judge them for their silence or give them control of the message--after all, the medium is the message.) No one is saying that it's the only tool for them to express emotions. But in some cases, it's the best option for them.

  • In reply to ShariWeiss:

    I am thinking, perhaps, and with all due respect, that you do not understand the many facets of Twitter.

  • In reply to ShariWeiss:

    Maybe I don't get it- It seems to me that it is a pretty simple model: either you are following or you are broadcasting, in 140 characters. The expression is limited by length and broadened by dissemination. I follow only those I personally know, and use it to connect.

    I am drawing a differentiation between expressing general feelings, which I get- and expressing condolences, which assumes a real relationship. I think there is a huge difference. For example, I think it is natural for those in the world at large to tweet their emotions- but if a friend tweeted instead of calling or sending a card, I would think she was emotionally immature. There are personal options available when we have a relationship.

    Example: If Nicole Ritchie tweeted RIP DJ AM, it would be ridiculous. If a kid who liked his stuff did the same- fine.

    You cannot know the duty to assist the mourning families that Catholics infused their kids with when I was coming up. (I am old!) We prayed for funeral processions and cemeteries, and went to visitations for anyone we had a remote connection to. The Catholic school kids were the unofficial "and "comfort the saddened" pew fillers. By 8th grade, I had probably attended 75 stranger's funerals in addition to the fifteen or so family events. My children and I have now restricted attendance to the wakes and funerals of those we know or love, but they understand the value of reaching out in person. When we stop doing things in person because we have to put an electronic buffer between us, I think we are culturally degrading.

    Later, when I lost each of my parents, I had exaggerated fondness for all who came, or wrote, or called. and exaggerated disappointment at those who never did. I understand that this is a typical phase of grief. It is an awkward duty to express condolences, but since we all suffer and die- it is a good one to practice. It is part of real communication- real community. The twitter community is more of an "at large" or "pew filler" place for grief. At the minimum, a private e-mail can remind one in pain that they are not alone. ANd I mean, at a minimum....

    Shari- I am old school. I try to keep up digitally with the kids because it unites us, but I will always prefer a call to stalking their lives online.

  • In reply to ShariWeiss:

    shari- i think she understands the 'many facets' of twitter just fine. i agree with her statement that 'tweeting' condolences for one's death is a shallow way of saying goodbye, and limiting your thoughts on one's death to 140 characters is a ridiculous concept. twitter is a great social media platform, and a fun time-waster...not a way to say goodbye to someone.

  • In reply to mattdahlrocks:

    This is the cutest thing ever- my "never call Mom so she has to stalk me on Twitter" son is defending me. I love you, Matt- what a good son you are. Feel free to call yourself! The effect of me joining social networking media is that Matt, Pat and Mike use them less so they remain Men of Mystery. Even at that, I think my work is done- they are on task more. I love you, Matt- Shari and I are e-pen pals. I am tickled that she cares to visit!

  • In reply to mattdahlrocks:

    Hey Janet...I'm gonna have to agree with you on this one. There is a time and place for Twitter, and Facebook, and MySpace, but as a means of expressing geniune emotion to one or a small group of people, it is lame. And FYI, ditto everything you said on Catholic school kids and funerals! Been there, done that!

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