Saturday, February 25, 2012

When A Facebook Friend Dies

A friend died yesterday. Because I had never met him in real life, I only found out this morning about his death. The internet, Facebook specifically, introduced us. We had been friends since 2012, so that means, he wished me Happy Birthday twice, Merry Christmas twice and we conversed on some pretty hot topics during that time.

My problem is not that he died and we can't engage in stimulating topics any longer. No my problem is how do you mourn the loss of a Facebook friend? There are those that think this is a strange thing, that people online are not really your friends. I must disagree. Facebook has done such a good job of allowing us to share our lives, our photos, accomplishments and general life stuff, that you feel like you've known some of your Facebook friends all your life.

So, to lose a Facebook friend to a real life eventuality like death, creates a feeling of loss and sorrow. I never met you Facebook friend, but I feel like I have.

Well, my Facebook friend is gone on, made his transition. This particular transition is the final stop for us all. Oddly, we are only reminded of this inevitable event when we have a shared experience with the person who died.

For instance, many of us had never met Whitney Houston, but since her death on February 11, 2012, there have been hundreds, if not thousands of posts celebrating her life as if she were family.

That's what social networks like Facebook do--they close the gap of unfamiliarity, introducing us to people we don't know, people who we just might like if we were given the chance to meet them. These are people who enjoy the things you do and say as much as you do. These Facebook friends sometimes offer words of encouragement, prayers and even smart remarks to crazy things you may say. Just like a real family would. So it's not wonder you mourn when a Facebook friend dies --just like you would if you had really met them. But wait, you do know them, Facebook just introduced you.