How Twitter and Facebook change the way we mourn

Nina Cesare

Two UW sociology researchers are studying how people tweet about death, analyzing feeds of deceased Twitter users.

The platform is like a neighborhood where everyone’s doors are open, and you can walk through any one of them and offer your thoughts, says doctoral student Nina Cesare, ’13, who co-authored the study. Facebook, by contrast, is like a room where close friends and families gather to mourn.

The public nature of Twitter means that strangers can tweet acknowledgment of someone’s passing (“Never met him, but seemed like a great guy”), or reference a profile to promote awareness for a cause, like gun safety. As online platforms make mourning more public, we all might have lives after death—whether we like it or not.

Read more at UW News.