COLUMN: RIP to online social grieving

Twitter reaction to the death of Prince
Twitter reaction to the death of Prince
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Death is something which happens to all us.

It’s awful when it does happen, whether it be sudden or expected.

There can be nothing more harrowing than for someone to lose a loved one – their lives will never be the same and the heartache and pain never goes away.

Everyone handles the grieving process differently.

These pages carry news stories about death and I cannot imagine what the families of those recently deceased are experiencing.

But one new phenomenon which appears to be sweeping the nation at the moment is social grieving – mourning for the loss of a celebrity, a well-known person they have never met before.

Let’s be honest, 2016 has been an awful year for the loss of celebrities –but does it justify the reaction from some on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter?

Yes, the deaths of Victoria Wood and Prince last week were sad, but I’m pretty certain people were not devastated like they claimed to be on social media.

Of course, I wasn’t a huge fan of either – but, then again, when celebrities or sportsmen have died who I have liked, I wasn’t devastated.

Sad, yes, but not devastated. Why should I be? I wasn’t a friend or a family member.

The one death which did shake me to the core was that of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, who died after being hit by a bouncer at the crease in 2014.

I wasn’t devastated, but simply shocked at the circumstances in which he died.

Pretty normal, I would say.

Although I refer to this as a new phenomenon, you can perhaps trace this kind of social grieving to the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

But back then, we didn’t have the likes of Twitter and Facebook to allow some to express their so-called devastation at such a loss.

It would appear these people are not grieving or devastated at all – but simply craving for attention and following the “pack” mentality.

Anyone who has the nerve to disagree with them is the bad guy or perceived as being heartless – which I may be accused of by writing this very piece.

It’s not the point I’m trying to make. The point I’m making is that the onset of social media has brought out the narcissist in a lot of us.

The death of a celeb really becomes more about the person expressing their feelings on Twitter or Facebook, not the dead person they are supposedly grieving for.

Are these people in a constant state of perpetual grief?

I don’t think so!