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November 11, 2018

Death on Facebook


As someone who enjoys intelligent conversation, and who is interested in ideas, I decided many years ago to stop using Facebook. It was, and is, the most inane chatter - with "ha ha LOL" usually being the most intelligent thing I usually saw. So I suspended my account, and focused on other things that were more intellectually stimulating. Then someone died.

The person who died was a member of a group that I had been involved with for years, a gardening group. And since I was the webmaster for the group, and familiar with internet stuff, I was asked if I knew how to post information on Facebook to let people know more about this person. About the memorial, about his life. And suddenly it all changed for me.

I restored my Facebook account, and posted about my friend. And suddenly Facebook wasn't just a silly place with silly comments. It was a place where people could gather. And to my amazement, Facebook showed a part of itself that I had never dreamed of. It became a meeting place.

Facebook now has a policy of keeping someone's page after they have died. And I have another friend, who has been gone for a long time now, whose page I sometimes visit. I posted a photo of a plant they had given me, and I told him how well it was doing. I knew that other people would see that post, so I made it clear that the message was to my friend, and that I was aware that he had died. It was a comfort for me, like talking to someone at their gravesite.

Death sucks. It hurts people. And it doesn't matter how much we're told that it's all part of life, it stinks. And people need a way to express their pain, their sympathy, and their loss. And if that's inane Facebook chatter, I'm OK with that.

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