Social Media – Where Do You Draw The Line?

I couldn’t go another day without writing something about the whole Shellie Ross story.  I’m sure you’ve heard or read about it by now.  It was all over the news last week, how this mother announced to the whole Twitterverse that her son fell into a pool and then not quite five hours later, announced this incident ended tragically.  There has been so much controversy over whether or not the mother crossed the line by tweeting her sons tragic death.  As for me, I kept wondering where this ‘line’ is.  Who decides where the line is drawn anyway?

I think there needs to be an understanding about what social media is and how much of an impact it has made on all our lives, directly or indirectly.  The mere fact that you have arrived here, on my tiny speck of the blogging community, says volumes about your interaction with social networking.  How did you get here?  Do you follow me on Twitter?  Are you one of my friends or family on Facebook or FriendFeed?  Or was it some other social networking site?

Here’s the big question.  Why is it so hard to believe, with all the social networking we do today, that someone would share their tragedy with thousands of others just as someone would share the birth of their baby or even update their relationship status at the altar?  Is it really such a shock?  It shouldn’t be.

Is it wrong for a grieving mother to reach out for support from the community she is so actively involved in, when her child dies?  What about the husband who now updates his wife’s blog (@anissamayhew) on the progress and condition of Anissa (his wife) since she had a stroke?  Let’s not forget about those three hikers (@freethehikers) that accidentally crossed into Iraqi territory and are now in an Iraqi prison.  Where is the line drawn at?

I’m not agreeing with or condoning what Shellie Ross did, but I can certainly understand it and can’t say for sure I wouldn’t have done the same thing in that state of mind.  I don’t think I would’ve done it as quickly as she did, but I can’t say that for sure either.  The only thing I’m sure of is that no one has the right to judge her.

…Ross’ tweets are not an example of the misuse of the Internet, but rather of its potential and power. It’s the critics, not Ross, that show the technology’s dark side.  ~  Lisa Belkin, The New York Times

When my dog died a couple of months back, I posted about the accident on Facebook within hours after his death.  Sammy was our family dog.  Yes, he was just a dog, but the two of us were closer than anyone else in the family and he had been a part of our lives for seven years.  It was one of the saddest moments in my life and I’m glad I reached out to others when he died.  It really helped me.  And here’s something else for you to think about… Both my husband and my oldest daughter also posted about our loss.  And not one of us knew the other posted something about it until we saw the posts on Facebook.  We live in the same house.  We cried together.  We held each other.  And yet each of us felt the need to reach out to our own circle of friends.  Talk about an impact.

What does social media or social networking mean to you?  How much of your life do you share on a social networking site?  Where do you draw the line?


2 thoughts on “Social Media – Where Do You Draw The Line?

  1. What I think people don’t see is that in it’s infancy, the internet seemed to disassociate people from each other. At best, there were small niche communities here and there. As it is maturing, the internet is evolving into medium for bringing people closer together. The small town dynamic used to be dependent on geographical location. Now it only relies on who you choose to associate with. As it ages, and as social media develops, international walls are starting to come down, transparency is becoming less of a buzz word and more of a lifestyle (barely as of yet, but it is coming), and friendships are being forged with people that you would have never met in your lifetime, not because you’re neighbors but because you are kindred spirits.

    In times of intense pain, we are uncontrollably compelled to express ourselves. Her expression found it’s release where she felt most comfortable.

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