So. There you are. You’re on Twitter, chatting away, having a nice time, maybe looking at some pictures of some kittens wearing bobble hats when suddenly a tweet comes past telling you that someone’s grandma has died.
The stream of consciousness style of Twitter means that we get to see everything that goes through someone’s head, so of course some of those things are gong to be bad. People are either the kind of people who talk about everything on social media, or they’re not. I tend not to share really personal stuff but that’s not to say that I think you’re wrong if you do, people deal with things differently. But people who share too much make me feel a bit uncomfortable.
Maybe I’m just being very British and need to loosen up but a few things go through my head when I see these death tweets. First of all, if someone close to you dies, it worries me that the first thing you think of is to announce it on Twitter/Facebook. Go and cry or something, we can wait. I’m sure you’re lovely but you’re not so important that we need to know every detail of your life, including the death of close family members. Don’t dilute their memory by spreading them across Twitter.
It also makes me feel awkward. What do I do? Everyone else is @-ing like crazy, sending sympathy, hugs, words of wisdom. If I join in and send something it just seems insincere, like I’m jumping on a bandwagon, it feels really fake. If I don’t say anything though, I feel heartless. I just end up doing nothing and feeling a bit rubbish. I don’t really know what people expect though, when they post something like that.
I think my problems with it partly come down to not liking the feeling of being emotionally manipulated. I’m expected to react a certain way. This is why I hate those reality tv shows, the Britain’s got the X Factor on Ice Get Me Out of Here type of programme. They bring someone on who’s a bit funny looking, or whose dad has just died and they play a slow Coldplay song and we all cry. I don’t want to be forced to react a certain way. But it gets worse. We see so much now in films and on television that nothing is sacred, not birth or sex or death, and we need to be pushed further and further until we produce a reaction.
So please, don’t put everything out there. Unless of course you have a gang of kittens in bobble hats, then share away. (Or a wombat in a teacup)