Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Grief, Loss, and the Meme generation

The death of Amy Winehouse has sparked an understandable flood of tributes from friends, family, and fans. Undoubtedly she was a troubled soul, and I'm not intending to launch into an analysis of all that. Suffice it to say, she lost a battle that is all too common in our world.

I noticed that the tributes started to come in extremely early - mostly via the social networking site Twitter (with Facebook following closely behind). Wife of the former UK Prime Minister, Sarah Brown, was the first to be quoted on the BBC News channel; I couldn't think of any other reason to air her comments, other than perhaps being the first cleb-type to have tweeted in those first few hours. It seemed weird to me.

We have all become used to the more creative demonstrations of grief; the roadside shrine, the photo pinned to a tree, the coloured and pictured headstones. I guess that the 'new' way some people have of expressing their feelings is to tweet it, or add a comment on their Wall.
I'm curious about this, though. Will it lead to an individualized grief that precludes the face-to-face sharing of sadness?
Even more worrying is the thought that, in the future, the importance of tweeting something (for the world to see?) will come to outweigh the authenticity of the sentiment.


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