This morning I woke up to the news of a drunk driver that plowed through a group of people at SXSW festival here in Austin. When you see stories like this you immediately feel the pain of the people involved and mourn the tragedy of such a thoughtless act. What also captured my attention was the statement at the end of the story that requested that the people who had captured video of the tragedy to please not post it to show respect for the victims’ families. I just have to weigh in how important that is for those of us who are on social media.
When someone passes away, there is a flurry of posts on FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc – well wishers, friends and acquaintances sending love and prayers to the family. But pause for a moment and wonder if all the family has been notified of the death. What if the first news of their loved one’s passing was from a Facebook posting? What if they died in a tragic death (such as the one at SXSW last night) and the next day, there was the video of your loved one getting hit by the car?
I say this with a heartfelt exclamation! When my brother was killed in an auto accident, there was a posting on Facebook within 20 minutes of me getting a phone call that he was in an accident. My other brother had called and left the message for me and it was unknown if he actually passed in the accident and I couldn’t get an answer from the highway patrol that was on the scene. Someone had to be the first one to hurry and break the news on Facebook.
It is not respectful to a family for friends to start posting about the passing of a loved one before the family announces it. I don’t feel people do this maliciously, but out of need to gather the community in support for the family. So I challenge you to think about social media and the speed of information at this most delicate of times. Have consideration and exercise restraint on using social media to gather the community. It’s such a great support tool, but needs to be used appropriately.
Think about it and post responsibly.