Monday, August 5, 2013
Sacred Ritual And Twitter, Some Thoughts On @nprscottsimon Live Tweeting His Mother's Death
We use rituals to mark our sacred events: beginnings and endings, birth and death, and even marriage. We gather our loved ones, our communities, to celebrate or mourn with us. But as the bride and groom waltzed down the aisle at the end of ceremony with smiles on their faces, I scanned the reaction of the spectators. A number of them were hunched over their mobile phones. No doubt facebooking and tweeting. And I couldn't help but think for a moment about Scott Simon.
Many know that Scott recently made a splash in the social media world by live tweeing the death of his mother. At first, being a physician involved in hospice and palliative care, I wasn't thrilled with the idea. His tweets were authentic and brilliant, but while reading them my first inclination was to wish that he would put down his phone and just be with his family.
This wedding reminded me how profoundly we have been altered by social media. It has become crystal clear that our digital communities are just as important as our traditional, filial, and geographic ones.
Scott turned to twitter to share this sacred moment with his friends, family, and yes, followers. The outpouring of love, respect, and well wishing he received is exactly what one would expect at a traditional funeral but was more consistant with his digital reality.
Scott, I'm sorry that I originally doubted you. I have a profoundly different understanding of community after reading your eloquent tweets.
My deepest and most heart felt condolences to you and your family.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 12:57 AM