How Long Before Someone Dies on Twitter

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, Blogging, and more have us all sharing more and more information. We’re sharing what we had for dinner, what we think about our job, who we’re dating and more.

Soon someone diagnosed with a terminal illness will share their experience dying on Twitter, using it to share the emotional journey? I can see the #hashtag being something like #withdignity, or #noregrets. I imagine the person Tweeting their treatment experiences, their thoughts and emotions around family and friends and to some extent their inner thoughts about what it’s like to know you are going to die.

Dr. Randy Pausch author of the Last Lecture shared his experience of being faced with a terminal illness. His Last Lecture gained instant internet popularity and his appearance on Oprah launched him into a world wide celebrity. His experience reminded us all how valuable life is and helped us all focus on what we have, not what we don’t. It’s not inconceivable to think people would be drawn to a Twitter version of this.

A recent study said Twitter and other social media users could “become ‘indifferent to human suffering’ because they never get time to reflect and fully experience emotions about other people’s feelings.” I’m not so sure. Under the right circumstances,I think it just may have the opposite effect.

Dying has traditionally been a private thing. The death journey is usually experienced for the first time in adulthood when a parent begins to suffer from old age. Death as a journey has traditionally been something we have avoided and therefore something we rarely have the opportunity to learn from.

Death is inevitable. Experiencing death in a positive way could re-shape our perspectives on life. It could have tremendous impact on the decisions we make and how we treat each other.

Millions of people’s lives were affected by Dr. Paush tragedy. Someone is going to die on Twitter someday and it may actually be a special thing.

Someone will also get Married, Divorced, Have a Baby, and more all on Twitter and we will all be the better for it.

UPDATE: via Twitter “@geechee_girl several people have already died on twitter, visibly and painfully, after suffering cancer, etc” She also let me know that @pistachio built her following by sharing every bit of her divorce. It’s going to be interesting to see more of this with even greater traction.