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Network Connectivity and Death

When I was younger, I remembered hearing news of people dying, whether from the adults around me or on television, if I happened to be at someone’s house when the death news was on because I didn’t have a television at my home. What stood out to me back then was that it was always someone I didn’t know, or If I knew them, they were not close to me. Hence, these deaths never bothered me, but lately, there has been a shift.

In the last two weeks on Facebook, almost daily, I kept seeing posts from people in my network saying R.I.P. to this person, or R.I.P. to that person. I saw people I went to school with, some I may not know personally, but we were connected via social media. Some are people who were close to people that I feel close to, are….well… just dying. Covid-19 have not made things any easier either, as it took some to their graves. I kept asking myself, why so many people are dying now, more than before and even younger than before? Now, I don’t have any data to back up the statement that more people are dying now than before, but I did realize one thing!

At 11 years, I wasn’t paying much attention to death news, and unless I heard an adult, whether my mom or the neighbours say that someone died, or unless that person was close to me, a relative, friend etc. I wouldn’t have known anyone died. However, today, this is different. Today we exist in a digital era where we are all interconnected. We live in a networked world, where we are connected by various forms of social media apps, messaging platforms, blogs, wikis, smartphones etc. What this has done is created information overload, which is also caused by the fragmentation of media. We no longer get information from one media source but from multiple sources. Therefore, when someone dies, and one person in my network makes a R.I.P. post about it online, the information about that person’s death makes its way to me through the network that I am now a part of online.

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Therefore, one can argue that it may not be that more people are dying now; it may just be that we are now more connected, and the information about someone’s death is being shared at a rapid speed through our networks. For this reason, at some point, once we are online, that information will reach us.

Now, what’s the point of this post? I don’t know; I guess I was trying to explain the sudden overwhelming number of R.I.P.’s I have seen lately.  Maybe more people are dying, who knows, but I do know that social media is not just exposing us as human beings. It is exposing what’s happening in our society a lot more now based on our network connectivity. You can’t run from death because it’s the destination we all share, but sometimes it can become depressing, so from time to time, take a break, stay off social media for a bit, read a book, like an actual physical book, do whatever you want but take a break from social media.

More importantly, life is short…scratch that, life is long, there isn’t anything longer than life. But don’t wait until you see someone post R.I.P. to respond and say how great someone was. Give people their rose while they are alive. Don’t hold grudges, forgive and move on, check up on that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, free your heart from any form of hatred and malice and live your best life to the fullest!!

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