I was hoping that you could put a very important message into your paper that my friend, Danica Philipzyk, is trying to get out to the Kootenays. It is about people posting things on social media without first thinking of how it may effect other people. In her example it is about finding out a loved one passed away on Facebook before she could hear from a family member or friend.
The following is what Danica shared on Facebook:
Picture this – it’s a breezy summer morning, the sun is out, the birds are chirping and you’re sitting at the table enjoying a delicious cup of coffee.
You still have ten minutes before having to leave for work and decide to take a quick scroll through Facebook. The page loads and the first status catches your eye: a friend is asking if anyone has heard about the “incident” that happened in town. Weird. You haven’t heard of any incident.
Someone else commented on the status saying how tragic it is that only good people die young. You scratch your head and frown, wondering what happened all the while mentally agreeing that it truly is tragic. You scroll down and see another status, “Has anyone heard about the girl who died this morning?” You click it and the comments say that she is a young girl, 24, from the next town over. The next comment is correcting the previous. “Actually she’s only 22, I went to school with her.”
Your stomach turns. You know quite a few people that age from that city. You continue to scroll through the page and see, “RIP Jane.” Jane? It couldn’t be YOUR Jane, could it? You click on your mutual friends with the status owner, and that’s when your world crumbles.
Could you imagine learning that something tragic has happened to a loved one from a Facebook status? People should not be posting about these events that come up until names and details have been officially released in the news. Not only are these statuses and comments extremely insensitive and disrespectful to those involved and related, they also cause rumours and gossip, which in some cases can be even more distressing, especially if what was said turns out to be untrue.
I would like to ask all of my Facebook friends to please take a second and think, “What am I gaining by posting this? How will this affect the people reading it?” Do it out of respect for the family and friends of those involved in the incident. Private message, text, or call each other but keep it off your wall. Soon enough it will all be in the news. What you do with that, after it is made public, is your business.
That being said; visit a little longer, hug a little tighter, and remember to say I love you every chance you get. Life is short and you never know what moment with someone will be your last.