2017 #SMSociety Theme: Social Media for Social Good or Evil

Our online behaviour is far from virtual–it extends our offline lives. Much social media research has identified the positive opportunities of using social media; for example, how people use social media to form support groups online, participate in political uprising, raise money for charities, extend teaching and learning outside the classroom, etc. However, mirroring offline experiences, we have also seen social media being used to spread propaganda and misinformation, recruit terrorists, live stream criminal activities, reinforce echo chambers by politicians, and perpetuate hate and oppression (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviour).

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Saturday, July 29 • 15:31 - 17:00
Benefits And Drawbacks Of Using Social Media To Grieve Following The Loss Of Pet [FULL]

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Authors: Jessica Vitak, Pamela Wisniewski, Zahra Ashktorab and Karla Badillo-Urquiola

Abstract: As social media becomes more deeply embedded into our daily lives, researchers are examining how previously private disclosures and interactions are manifesting in semi-public spaces. This study evaluates how sites like Facebook may help users grieve following the loss of a family pet. Through an empirical study of Facebook users, we evaluate survey responses (N=396) and users’ actual Facebook posts related to pet loss (N=190) to better understand how individuals use (or do not use) social media as part of the grieving process. We find that users weigh several benefits and drawbacks before making these sensitive disclosures on Facebook, including whether they think posting will mitigate or perpetuate their emotional pain, the privacy of the experience vs. the public nature of sharing, and whether their disclosures will be met with support or dismissal (i.e., disenfranchised grief). We conclude by discussing implications for theory around grief and social support as well as the design of social media interfaces that support grieving processes for the loss of a loved one.

Saturday July 29, 2017 15:31 - 17:00 EDT
TRS 1-073 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C4

Attendees (8)