We lost a great entertainer last week. Whitney Houston passed away at the young age of 48 in Los Angeles, a day before the Grammys. The Internet, especially social media, was buzzing with the unfortunate news the entire weekend. People mostly posted how shocked they were of the news. Many wondered about what caused her death. I actually found out about her death from flipping on the television while folding laundry. I’m not a big television watcher so it’s rare for me to find out major news this way. In typical nerd fashion, I jumped online to read what was being said on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Death and social media are an interesting pair. You can rely on social media to remind you about how great or horrible a person was after they pass. Opinions are plentiful and emotions are in the open. All the celebrities are weighing in and perhaps the biggest celebrity Whitney fan, Wendy Williams let loose via Twitter and YouTube:
Death is a serious thing and its intersection with social media is really tricky. Some people weigh-in strictly for publicity or attention, but most are genuine. I personally choose to send out an “R.I.P.” and keep it moving. There’s good and bad to death x social media.
The Good: It gives the public an outlet for expression on a death.
The Good/Bad: Suicide notes. The bad is the disturbing nature of them being put online. The good is that the notes give people a chance to intervene before the person hurts themselves.
The Bad: Negative remarks made by people seeking attention.
How will social media react when you pass away? Do you care? Too early to think about it?