Is grieving on Twitter ‘bogus’?


If you’re a soccer/football fan, and even if you’re not, it’s been hard to escape the news of personal disaster which has befallen two of the greats of the game recently. Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch a few weeks ago after suffering a cardiac arrest, and now Aston Villa player Petrov has been diagnosed with leukaemia.

This article in the Belfast Telegraph suggests that outpourings of grief on social networking sites after such events are bogus. Given the sudden nature of Muamba’s illness, it makes sense that fans would take to Twitter to show their support, and their messages have been heartfelt and sincere, with a few notable exceptions.

It’s true that in some ways, taking to social media sites to express feelings over sporting drama can be seen as voyeuristic, but a sense of shock must govern people’s reactions…and it is this which drives them to the outlets they use to release this pent-up emotion.

Blackler’s description of grieving as ‘everywhere and indiscriminate’ is true, but it has always been so. I am less inclined to agree with his hypothesis that it is a sort of ‘addiction, a way of getting that buzz of mortality’. Who in their right mind gets a buzz from mortality? Most of us spend our lives trying not to face the fact that we are someday going to shuffle off this mortal coil.

As for the author’s conclusion that ‘It is tempting to conclude that the more a person shows shared public sympathy, the less likely he or she is to be able to display it close to home, where it matters.’ (Blacker, T., Belfast Telegraph, Thursday 5th April 2012 ) I would strongly disagree. Those who feel sympathy towards people affected by such events are simply sincere people, with no voyeuristic intention whatsoever.

What do you think? Would you take to Twitter to vent after a sporting tragedy? Please share your thoughts in the comments. 

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About Casey Bottono

I am in love with language. I write poetry and fiction in a wide variety of genres. Most recently, I have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities' Pen2Paper contest.
This entry was posted in coping strategies, coping-with-grief, Grief Loss and Bereavement, In the news, others' work and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is grieving on Twitter ‘bogus’?

  1. TangledLou says:

    This is an interesting question. When it’s a public figure, where else would fans go to express their grief or shock? Obviously the fans aren’t going to grieve in the same way the families do. It is an interesting question indeed. And Fabrice Muamba’s heart attack was such a strange and sudden situation, why wouldn’t people talk about that?!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am loving yours and can’t wait to read more.

    • Casey B says:

      Thank you for the praise. I agree…I found the article so strange when it appeared in my Twitter feed through another grief site that I had to blog about it. Blackler’s idea of a ‘buzz’ about mortality confuses and disgusts me…like I say, most of us spend our time trying not to think about that rather than getting some (if you’ll forgive the phrase) creepy ‘high’ off it, as he seems to suggest. Madness. Really appreciate your taking the time to drop by, and hope you continue to enjoy my posts.

I love it when you share your thoughts- so feel free.

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