It’s truly peculiar how social media can gather everyone around a single thought or topic, yet as soon as it reaches a certain level of popularity there’s always someone strongly going against it for no actual reason. And they’re not some modern self-proclaimed ‘hipsters’ who make it their life goal to be against everything. No, those are usually easier to identify. I feel these are more likely people who are either unable to understand compassion or easily get angry over other people’s actions.
“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.” ~ Robin Williams in World’s Greatest Dad
No, this is not another post about Robin Williams, I have expressed my thoughts and sadness over that elsewhere. Though when the world loses a brilliant person of such a caliber, I do in fact expect my news feed to be flooded about it. On the other hand, it seems quite a few people I’ve been following have an issue with that.
I believe that whenever there is some big news news, regardless if it is good or bad, it should reach everyone. And whenever we bid farewell to someone, I do not mind any social media posts about it, so as long as they’re sincere and aren’t twisting the truth for attention. If everyone made a post regarding someone’s death, to me it shows how much those people cared about that person. They’re showing their grief and respect. A century ago using the social media to show grief may not have been acceptable, but it is now, or otherwise it should be. We use our accounts on various websites to display ourselves and our interests. Where exactly is the fault in showing we care about someone through the social media?
To say that “you didn’t know the man” is a valid argument against expressing sadness over the loss of someone is utterly ridiculous. It’s the 21st age, I may not have met someone (that in itself brings sadness to me, the thought that you’ve lost the chance to ever meet someone you wish you had) but I may have been familiar with their work. Might be I grew up with their work, it maybe have been part of my childhood and continued being an influence well into my adulthood. I may not have known the person to grieve about them like I would for a close friend, but maybe I have known, appreciated, and respected their work highly enough to be saddened by the news.
There’s a high probability that I’ve actually met more people online that I have in person. With the click of a few buttons you join online groups with thousands of people, a number you cannot hope to interact with in person. You may not know everyone very well, but the more time you spend online the more you get to know them, the closer you get with them. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never seen them in person, should a time come when you lose them, you’ll be sad about it. They were not only someone you came in contact with, but someone who left and impact on you in one way or another. Despite not meeting them in person in your life, you felt safe enough to trust them with things maybe you could not trust others with.
Or maybe they helped you in a time of need. Maybe you helped them and they were eternally thankful, enough to shower you with love the rest of their life. We live in an age where contact between two people, personal or not, is seconds away. There’s no restriction nowadays when it comes to making friends, the only restrictions are the ones we create and impose on ourselves. So to me it is perfectly reasonable that one expresses grief over social media. Additionally I find one must seriously lack compassion to be bothered by another person’s post about the loss of someone they have never personally met.
We’re born, and then we die. Everything in between is a void filled with choices, and our choices are quite often influenced and supported by someone else’s life story or work. This is never visible on the outside, it’s like a mild wind that can go unnoticed by everyone in an area but to a dwindling fire it is what keeps it alive. And it’s okay to cherish their work after they’re gone, in turn that will keep the memory of the person alive as well. If your herd does not have a place for you when you’re in black, then find another herd that’s accepting of sheep in other colors.