Title: "I hate when they do that!" - Online mourning and shared emotions perceived on Facebook and why the digital will never replace the material.
Today bereaved individuals attend online thanato-emotional practices such as mourning and memorialization in conjunction with more traditional practices (Walter et al. 2011; Gotved 2014). Online death research shows that the benefits from using online SNS's for shared and private mourning outweigh the negative impacts that might follow, that being loss of control, vulnerability, trolling and matters of ownership (Brubaker et al. 2013; Walter 2013; Walter 2015; Gianatassio & Kimberly 2014). Much research is targeted toward the established online mourning groups and less on users 'outside' these network formations. This paper tries to fill this gap by questioning the perception of online remediation of death from the 'outsider' and how that at times disrupt and disconnect existing relations.
First this paper will present a brief overview of the expanding market for digital online thanato-designs (Goldschmidt 2013; Massimi 2012; Massimi 2014; Jefferies 2013) with focus on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter in Denmark, their affective potentials, influence and emotional impact on what is considered traditional Danish rituals, practices and places of death.
Grounded in theory on emotions, new media and digital cultures (Lagerkvist 2013; Haverinen 2014; Benski & Fisher 2014) and empirical data from an online survey on grief and mourning practices, the paper discuss what it finds to be a surprising level of skepticism, reluctance and inappropriateness observed from users outside the usual mourning groups and networks. Specifically the paper addresses the issues on emotional outcry, attention seeking and continuing conversations about and with the deceased on Facebook.
These findings are contextualized through qualitative ethnographic studies of Danish cemetery users and their experiences with and attitudes towards online thanato-designs.
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