Changing opinions on death with social media

04 September 2015

The age of social media has created a huge shift in the way we as people deal with death and the way we feel about it too.

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Back in the 1800s and early 1900s disease was rife and death was more of a taboo subject. Thanks to medical advances, we no longer have to worry about the transfer of infectious diseases such as diphtheria and typhoid, and in Britain, our life expectancy is getting ever longer.

There is a newfound openness on the subject of death which means that people are sharing more intimate moments surrounding their death and voicing their opinions on the subject. The more that people discuss the topic, the less taboo it becomes.

Social media allows people to share every detail of their life and often personal details. This has led to a so called 'self-esteem movement', where people are looking for feedback and reassurance on their posts. More recently we’ve seen people be extremely open with their death on social media.

People with terminal illnesses have been documenting everything leading up to their final days. Many have showcased their fundraising efforts; but also let people have an insight into their life with a terminal disease, which gives them a feeling of support. Because of the fascination with death as a subject, they often gain followers who want to help. This open sharing made death a popular topic of conversation, as opposed to the forbidden one it once was.

Making conversation about death on social media brings greater awareness to the fact and keeping it in people’s minds reminds them that life is precious and should be lived. With greater awareness comes greater discussion. Conversations around end of life care allow for more accurate choices to be made, for those making the decisions. Social media itself has greatly helped with online debate about the tough subject of euthanasia and the legalities surrounding assisted dying.

Overall the openness that comes with social media is helping further the discussion of death and situations leading up to it, which can only be a positive.