[NetBehaviour] Rituals of Grief Go Online.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue May 9 14:29:46 CEST 2006

Rituals of Grief Go Online.

Published: April 27, 2006.

Like many other 23-year-olds, Deborah Lee Walker loved the beach, 
discovering bands, making new friends and keeping up with old ones, 
often through the social networking site MySpace.com, where she listed 
her heroes as "my family, and anyone serving in the military — thank you!"

So only hours after she died in an automobile accident near Valdosta, 
Ga., early on the morning of Feb. 27, her father, John Walker, logged 
onto her MySpace page with the intention of alerting her many friends to 
the news. To his surprise, there were already 20 to 30 comments on the 
page lamenting his daughter's death. Eight weeks later, the comments are 
still coming.

"Hey Lee! It's been a LONG time," a friend named Stacey wrote recently. 
"I know that you will be able to read this from Heaven, where I'm sure 
you are in charge of the parties. Please rest in peace and know that it 
will never be the same here without you!"

Just as the Web has changed long-established rituals of romance and 
socializing, personal Web pages on social networking sites that include 
MySpace, Xanga.com and Facebook.com are altering the rituals of 
mourning. Such sites have enrolled millions of users in recent years, 
especially the young, who use them to expand their personal connections 
and to tell the wider world about their lives.


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