[NetBehaviour] Rituals of Grief Go Online.
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue May 9 14:29:46 CEST 2006
Rituals of Grief Go Online.
By WARREN ST. JOHN
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
"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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