As part of my new approach to Social media, I plan to (once a month) check a tool for follows and unfollows on Twitter, adjusting my feed accordingly. Whilst doing this yesterday, with the background of Las Vegas as a constant, I noticed someone I’d not heard from in six months. They were a regular interactor and always posted interesting and thought-provoking stuff into my timeline. What little I had gleaned in our interactions meant I knew she was a librarian (both in Second Life and IRL): a quick scan of their timeline showed that on March 2nd they went in for surgery on their right arm. On April 2nd, they passed away.
I felt sick when I read this: how had I not noticed she’d gone? I know I can’t keep track of everybody I interact with, and that my perception of friendship is always going to be skewed… but I was chastened, and it made me consider why it is we do this whole Social media ‘thing’, especially watching the events of the last 24 hours unfolding around me. The reality of life, of course, is that people pass away every day. Yesterday, 58 had their lives taken from them by a man who made a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic, with no previous convictions for anything. Not a madman, just a man.
Yesterday, a lot of people said things I VERY strongly disagree with. In fact, some people I thought I knew uttered stuff that just made me shake my head in pure disbelief. I didn’t unfollow anyone, however: I listened. I tried to understand. I accepted a lot of what was said, even if I don’t agree. The key here is not to start a fight during a period of grief, but to know what it is that is driving the division between groups of people. The best means of doing this, at least for me, is simply to watch and learn. It is going to take some time to digest it all, but I intend to do my best.
This morning we have no hot water or heating, with an engineer on the way. Once that is fixed, I’m going to sit with a cuppa and a piece of cake and hold my own, rather overdue wake, and remember the person I loved to chat about virtual worlds with, whose history was vast and all-encompassing, and who just made me smile on difficult days. Looking at the responses to her passing at the time, it was a shock to just about everybody. Her life will be remembered fondly and with pride, and I will follow her until such time as her account vanishes forever into the ether. That means that there are two accounts which are marked as ‘user deceased’ on my timeline.
I’d really not like anymore for quite some time.