November 4, 2009

Facebook is weird

The other day Alec Couros Tweeted about facebook and its weird new "tool" that allows you to reconnect with people you have not connected with in a while. He pointed out that people were angry because facebook was asking them to reconnect with people that are now dead.

Well, this happened to me yesterday. This last August one of my former students passed away in a car accident. She had just graduated. She was going to be a carpenter. Her name was Megan, and I have had a hard time accepting her passing.

I found out about her accident on facebook. In real time. One status update still haunts me. One of her best friends wrote: "Megan, they are saying you were in the car and you are gone....please let this not be true, I don't know if you are okay or not". Another person wrote (I think it was her relative): "dude, I think she's gone".

That last statement hit me hard. I was getting bad news in real time. I was also watching people react in real time. Facebook statuses soon echoed her name and the news everywhere. People created memorial groups and used facebook as a way to cope.

This next part was foreign to me. I have never had someone younger than me and close to me die before. And it was a really hard thing for me to accept. Although facebook provided somewhat of a grieving process for some, I found it difficult. Megan still has a facebook profile. I saw that people were writing on her wall and found myself checking her profile. It makes it harder for me to accept the fact that she is gone.

And now this. Yesterday, under suggestions, I saw that facebook had suggested her as a friend to reconnect with. I do not even know what to think about all this.


  1. Losing students is just not supposed to happen. Too hard, but now with this facebook stuff - horrible. My thoughts are with you Ryan. Is it possible to contact facebook somehow and let them know what has happened?

  2. Ouch.

    The real question is whether or how long her Facebook profile should stay up. I personally would prefer to see it left up as a memorial but if the family wishes it to be removed I don't think it is very easy to do. I have heard horror stories about just how hard it is to delete your own Facebook account, never mind deleting somebody elses.