George Michael… David Bowie… Carrie Fisher… What do these three names have in common? Each was a significant figure in mainstream society but it’s important to remember that their digital presence was just as equally matched to their fame. These were but just three of the names to be taken from us in the year that was 2016 and their legacy has and will forever continue to live on through the power of the online world. So much of our life is displayed online, whether fabricated or not, everyone has a view into what we eat or where we go but here lies the question, what should happen to these accounts once we leave this life? Some may look at social media accounts as sentimental but some may look it at is as unnecessary once we pass. It’s a divided opinion but one of which shall be discussed today…
For many, keeping social media accounts open after a death is a way of solace and provides peace. As outlined in Every Place at Once, Crystal Abidin presents us with the view that the websites become a memorial place for the person and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are notorious for this. Family, friends and fans can reflect together and provide comfort in this time of discomfort. You never truly appreciate someone until they’re gone. In the eyes of Abidin, digital artefacts from photos or videos to digital platforms themselves are now mediums in which the human can grieve. Below is an example of the power that social media has in which likeminded people can relate and mourn..
As someone who is an avid fan of social media and the digital world, I found the article as previously mentioned quite interesting as it provided us with a rather modern twist on the normalities that revolve around a funeral.
“I didn’t manage to absorb anything yesterday,” she tells me. “But now that I have time I can truly experience the moment.”
“Are you going to keep the video?” I ask.
“Yeah. I will watch it every time I miss your sister. Or when I need strength. Now I realize how important all these videos are.”
In our culture, we are so used to how things such as a funeral or wedding are expected to function. Stand up, be seated, now we will proclaim the word of God, it almost seems abnormal or odd for someone to be different from the crowd like the woman above. But yet, I find this action of what could be considered odd to be quite sweet. Abidin questions whether it is healthy to re-watch a funeral or post pictures, tweets or messages about someone after they’ve passed. She explains to the reader how she had the ability to flock to WhatsApp, informing people of the funeral details and for support, reminiscing on the fond memories she and many other people shared of her sister.
From reminiscing on fonder times with the power of WhatsApp, to posting pictures and videos on mediums such as Facebook and Twitter, myself and many others find it quite necessary to help with grief. It is 2017, we are an evolved generation with opportunities galore to change, adapt and make a difference. Why should this woman not have recorded the funeral if it helps her in any shape or manner? I think that we’ve come this far to allow and accept changes like this to happen. If a woman wants to take pictures, record or tweet about a funeral, then by all means go for it! It gives life to a person who may not physically be here and allows for people to celebrate and honour her spirit in the way they find is appropriate.
With websites such as The Digital Beyond allowing people provide access to someone they trust with passwords to their email and any other details that they see fit, it’s clear that even though someone may be gone, their memory can live on forever through the power of technology.
If that is not simply amazing, I don’t know what is!