ABSTRACT

In the Western world, particularly in the period characterized as Modernity, there is a certain prevalence towards hiding away dying and death. We hide the sick in hospitals and the dying in hospices, and even if the mass media are filled with reports on spectacular deaths in tragic occurrences, death and dying is not an experienced part of a normal everyday life. Death has been sanitized, purged from our involvement and devolved to specialists such as undertakers. This so-called sequestration of death in Western modernity is now being challenged by digital technologies (Christensen and Gotved, 2014), at least when we talk about the visibility and the acknowledgement of the personal loss. Increasingly, a deceased person is connected to an extended social network on different digital platforms (for example, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) and furthermore, the loss is digitally shared immediately among the close family, their relatives and friends. The experiences of shock and sorrow are communicated on diverse social media, and online tributes are published, shared and commented on as part of the grieving process. In the digital age, death is no longer hidden away from everyday experience – even if the physical body is still held by institutions, the connected actions and emotions are out in the open for everybody to virtually stumble upon.