As a result, hundreds of people--thousands, maybe--prayed for this woman and sent positive thoughts her way. Still, I can't get it out of my head: a mother was Tweeting while her baby was dying.
Maybe she didn't know how bad it was.
Maybe if she had known how it would end, she would have put the Blackberry down.
Or maybe she needed to share the horrible burden of her fear.
I don't know. And I don’t judge this woman. I just want to talk about it.
The Internet has given us so much. Connectivity, information, the power and freedom to exchange ideas. I’ve always believed it has added to our society far more than it has taken away. But there are lines, aren't there? Boundaries are being crossed every day, as we figure out what's public and what's private; what's personal, and what’s too personal.
Here I was in Nashville, Tennessee, at work on a Wednesday morning, when someone I follow on Twitter tweeted that another mother's baby just died in Los Angeles, California. I don't know this other mother. Neither does the person who announced it on Twitter, though she feels as if she does, because she follows the woman’s blog. Reading this tweet, I'm sad. Deeply sad for a perfect stranger I’d never before heard of.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe we live too much in our own little boxes, not letting other people’s struggles touch us. Maybe having an intimate glimpse into the suffering of strangers teaches us something. Or maybe we have enough on our plates without welcoming strangers’ hardships into the mix. This morning, I wondered, do I need to be tapped into this vein of tragedy? And do I even have a right to be? Does this mother want the whole world to share her private grief? Does she realize how far word has traveled?
The reason I even bring this up, is because it’s been happening a lot lately. I feel like I’m being exposed to a lot more of the personal suffering of strangers because of the time I spend on the Internet. It’s my choice to be out there, I get that. But writing online is what I do, so I can’t really avoid it. And the bottom line is, it's kind of bringing me down. I feel like I’m seeing and hearing too much sometimes, and it’s not always easy to shake off the darkness.
Is it healthy? Is it not? Should we embrace it, or dial it back? I haven’t landed on one side or another. I’m up in the air, just thinking out loud, and wondering what you think too.
Please do leave comments. All I ask is that you be respectful and kind. It’s the idea of public vs. private I’m interested in. Especially with respect to suffering and grief. Do you get emotional about things you read on the Internet? Does it affect you for a minute? Or does it stay with you longer? Do you think sharing your most private moments on Twitter and Facebook is good? Dangerous? Helpful? Not helpful?
Or somewhere in between?