I don’t have a lot to say about the Virginia Tech tragedy. It’s unspeakably heartbreaking, sick, and sad. With around the clock news coverage of today’s ceremony, interviews with loved ones, background on the killer, I feel surrounded. One thing I wanted to highlight:
The newfound eternity of a tragic face.
Until now, when when someone passes away, there’s an obituary in the newspaper, a funeral service, and then they live on in our memories. Given this social age, will death play out differently? Through their facebook profile, their myspace, their blog, flickr photos, etc? In this V-Tech tragedy, the majority of victims were college students who likely have a massive online footprint. Will all of this make them more human to us? As their profiles fill-up with comments on shared memories and displays of grief, instead of fading away, it’s brought to the forefront.
The implications in other tragedies are farther and wider: the deceased soldiers of unpopular wars, victims of corporate negligence, police brutality, etc. In many cases, institutions and individuals desperately do not want a human face for the tragedy, yet the Internet will keep that face at the forefront. The deceased’s favorite song will be playing through mySpace. Their pictures up on Flickr and Facebook. Their thoughts of the world posted on their blog.
Will tragedy live on for eternity? What consequences would that have for those of us who remain?