Remaining friends with the dead : emerging grieving practices on social networking sites
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How do we mourn the dead and proceed with our lives when the dead do not absent themselves from our everyday world, but remain integrated into our community of friends on social networking sites? This paper explores the changes occurring in the ways in which we experience online the deaths of our loved ones, namely, a collapse between public and private modes of grief. The changes under examination include the changing perception of death, identity creation and ownership, the role of the bereaved, theoretical/therapeutic approaches to grieving, the function of ritual, and commemoration of the dead. Questions this paper addresses include: to whom do the dead belong? Does death become banal when it is incorporated into everyday life? How can a ritual reflect a passage from one state of being to another when you are part of a system that does not recognize a change in status?