Words can't express how horrific it is to have a friend or daughter die at the age of 17. In the case of Emily Longley, who passed away on Saturday, I wrote about the trend of the Social Media Obituary. So many have properly used social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to share their feelings and emotions, mourn the loss of loved ones, and honor them by creating a tribute page on Facebook or digital guest book. It's social networking at its best.
Emily Longley's memorial page on Facebook was "liked" by 16,000 people, most of whom did not know the teen model from New Zealand. A few days later, according to the New Zealand Herald, the page was removed as the updates were filled with lewd photos and nasty comments. This is social networking at its worst.
Although the details of her death are still under investigation, why would people feel good about posting negative comments on her tribute page? Isn't the death itself a huge tragedy? Shouldn't the friends and family be able to mourn peacefully?
Posting disrespectful comments about the newly-deceased not only breaks the rules of netiquette, it breaks any form of etiquette, both online and offline.
We know we should think before we post, tweet, or update, but in such delicate matters such as death and dying, it's time to go back to basics. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
My prayers go out to the friends and family of Emily Longley. I hope one day she will rest in digital peace.