Mum Announces Her Son's Death On Twitter In Near Real Time. Why?

A long time ago, my ex-wife had two miscarriages. We could barely speak after them. Maybe that's why I can't understand how someone can tweet the death of her two-year-old son almost in real time. That's what Shellie Ross did.

According to the New York Times, Shellie has 5400 followers on Twitter. The wife of an Air Force sergeant, she uses her account to tell about her life as a mother of four.

Last Monday she tweeted about her chickens at 5.22pm. At 5.38pm she called the police saying that her son Bryson was dead at the bottom of the family pool. At 6.12pm she asked her Twitter followers to pray for the life of her son. Only five hours later, she posted photos of the two-year-old Bryson along with the following message:

Remembering my million dollar baby

I don't know about you, but when I read about this, something flipped inside me, and I felt absolutely no sympathy for this woman. I just can't believe that this is the way you mourn the loss of your own son. The same way I just can't believe that anyone could have the cold blood to tweet about how your son is dead in the pool, just a few minutes after finding him there.

The NYT article is excusing her by saying that "it feels perfectly logical that Shellie Ross would reach out to that community with her pain". Really? How is that "logical" again? Do you mean as logical as plastering the front of your home with photos of your dead kid, and publicly declare that you are "remembering" him shouting through the window? With a megaphone? And what is that community of 5400 followers? Are they 5400 friends? Or just 5400 spectators? And since we are at this logical game, could we step it a little bit further and turn on the webcam? I want to see the tears, please. What's the difference, anyway? It's all about "reaching the community" because everyone feels isolated, after all.

But then again, I remember I tweet about personal things sometimes too. So where to draw the line? Maybe each of us have to draw our own lines. I know where to draw mine, and tweeting about the dead of my kid - hopefully that will never happen - or anyone else is a hundred billion miles out of it.

No matter how you look at this, it's terribly sad. Sad because an innocent kid died. Sad because something is really f—ked up when a mother's first reaction is to post about the dead of her son a few minutes after she finds him dead. In a bloody web page. With the mum, with the whole society, or whof—kingever. But something here is just not working right, and no excuses on how this is a brave new world can make up for this often-pathetic show we call the web. [NYT]

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