I was talking to a friend recently who said she was upset because she found out a friend of her had died — thanks to Facebook. Last week after receiving the news of someone else’s death, I checked their Facebook wall, and sure enough, there was plenty of info about it all. And, how could I forget, that I found out about NewsTaco founder and my dear friend Carlos Guerra’s death on his Facebook wall.
As someone who’s experienced this, I can tell you it sucks. Because it all snowballs. I found out via Facebook and text message, then told my friends via text message, and what you end up getting is this very impersonal, techy version of something that’s very personal and sad.
The other thing that sucks about finding out information like this from Facebook is that you don’t have any real moral support when you get the message. I remember being at work reading these messages and feeling overwhelmed, with no one really to talk to about it. Perhaps that’s why I then chose to reach out to others using the same methods, almost like fighting fire with fire. While nothing can make you feel “better” when you receive such bad news, at least having other human beings around makes you feel a little comforted.
But then again, like most things, this can’t be all bad.
I mean, being able to find out about such sad things when people you love are far away can be tremendously helpful. I know that, since my friends and family are all over the country, I’ve also been party to wedding and birth announcements via Facebook. Of course, this type of news doesn’t inspire the need to be comforted or cause nearly the same type of reaction as a death.
In the end I guess we all need to take the good with the bad when it comes to technology. It’s not going away, and I’m sure eventually there’ll be some automated way to shut down tech sites when we die. Until then, at least on my end, I’m going to do my best not to contribute to the madness and take the time to make a phone call the next time I get such unfortunate news.