Death is now an open forum for all to victimize themselves.
Not too long ago, when a tragedy occurred and a life was taken, there was an understandable mourning period in which those affected could shut themselves out from the world.
With the spike in technology in the world we now live in, society is not so quick to allow healing anymore. Social media has given a whole new meaning to the phrase “word of mouth,” and tragedy is no exception. When news of a death, particularly that of a younger human, hits social media, 974 of that human’s closest friends send their condolences via carefully crafted Facebook statuses.
The immediate family of the one who has passed on is bombarded with wall posts ranging from, “Your sister seemed very sweet this one time I met her at a party,” to “your son made me laugh in science class every day in the sixth grade.”
No matter how many years have passed since the final interaction, so many social media users try to fabricate a sense of loss through their page in order to feel sympathized for, and thus cared for. It is no secret that social media is used to seek gratification from our peers, but we have stopped at no extreme in seeking that attention, acceptance, or sympathy in pursuit of likes, comments, and friend requests.
Society has put so much emphasis on the way others view us that many of us have forgotten what it is like to truly feel the emotion we are attempting to radiate, whether it be love, pain, sorrow, or joy. We ask the world to share in our suffering, though we may not actually be suffering at all. In the case of death, we seek the suffering that those immediately affected by the tragedy are feeling and in turn minimize the pain that they may be feeling.
With the use of social media, we have become an entirely self-centered society. We go so far as to “like” a page claiming to support a certain cause, but many of us have never donated a dollar nor a minute of our time to provide real help to that cause. We detach ourselves in real life to attach ourselves virtually, adding the rising apathy levels in our country.
That apathy level is going to lead to our demise, and if we want to stop it we had better log off and experience life without somebody else’s pain.
Leah Mulroney can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org