Thursday, March 26, 2009

Facing Facebook

We've all had a teacher or two who really inspired us. 

For my sister, it was her high school art teacher, Mrs. Saad. 

Yesterday, she found out via Facebook that Mrs. Saad had suddenly passed away at a fairly young age. 

It occurs to me, before our age of new media, this is probably something my sister would have found out about much further down the road—as gossip through a friend, or at her next school reunion. Now, she is struggling with the tragedy of how this woman's life ended prematurely, and also the immediacy of the news. 

I wonder how it will change grieving that the entire community of people who know and knew someone can instantaneously become aware of their passing. Is this healthier, or is this more than we should be expected to handle?


Gail Rae said...

I have no thoughts about whether instantaneous, global notification of deaths through media like Facebook, etc., is healthier or even how it will affect our response to death, but, I have a question, which I think might help answer your questions, Jessica, and, you know, although I'm curious, if you prefer not to answer my question in public, that's fine:
How, exactly, did your sister come across this information in Facebook?

Jessica Knapp said...

Gail, I'm not ignoring your question. ... I keep forgetting to ask my sister. I know she got some sort of broadcast notification, but I don't know if it was from a friend or from someone else through her teacher's page. One of these days I'll remember to ask.

Fran said...

Hi Jessica - I'm just catching up. I think this is a cautionary tale about instant information: both writers & readers must work hard at being VERY sensitive & kind. These new tools (Facebook etc) are great; best-practice usage is still a work in progress. Thanks for raising an important issue. Fran