Online Mourning and the Unexpected Refuge of Facebook

Alone, I sobbed. Yet I sobbed with Facebook open—his life revealed and exposed in bits on my screen, his friends spilling tears on his profile. I sobbed at home, by myself, but also with everyone else.

(Digital) Life After Death: A Perfectionist’s Postmortem Fears

And then I think about the public profiles that I have no qualms about leaving behind, and the aspects of my digital persona that would never change—the bits of data on my various profiles that my spirit would approve, long after I am gone.

Notes on Alternate Timelines and the Stories That Facebook Doesn’t Share

But I’m not interested here in distinguishing what was what in my own timeline. Instead, I’m fascinated by how Facebook Timeline encourages us to map it out for all to see: A visualization of the haphazardness of the cosmos. A digital record of life choices we’ve made.

On Eternal Sunshine, Erasing Memories, and Facebook Timeline

But my curation of my own history—the deleting of previous status updates, the “featuring” of particular posts—is strange. More so than before, I am able to highlight what is important in my life—or what I want others to view as important—and fill in missing details from today to when I was born.

Jarring & Juxtaposed: Digesting the Twitter Stream

For those of us who mingle virtually with avatars in the same room, and who embrace Twitter as meaningful and three-dimensional, I wonder: If one is not interested in Libya, or Wisconsin, or the Superbowl, or Egypt, or Planned Parenthood, or the Grammys, how do we whisper about something else? How do we tweet politely about our day when others are distraught, angry, or in need?

Notes on Social Media, Egypt, and My Pseudo-Activism

What have I done? Or the current question: what am I doing now? I read the passionate, desperate tweets from brave protesters on my computer screen. I am deeply inspired, I comment on other’s tweets, I share articles on Facebook. I feel like I’m participating.

But, I am not.