Social networks are definitely causing a stir in the media, with barely a week passing by without there being complaints of something, whether it’s inappropriate comments or groups of individuals purposely trying to get themselves noticed by posting vile or degrading images and material. The act of posting something on Facebook has become as natural as talking to the person next to you, in fact some actually prefer that rather than face to face conversations or picking up the phone. It’s a little sad but technology has become so ingrained in our lives now that it can’t be ignored.

Twitter is just as bad, if not worse, with its immediate effect, potentially reaching an even larger audience even though more limited on characters. Our use of social networks is important for connecting with friends, family or colleagues. It’s also great for “meeting” with other industry professionals, or complete strangers who just happen to have like-minded interests. However, does this freedom give us the right to post literally anything? Regardless of poor taste and sensibilities? Admittedly, on Twitter for people to see your posts they have to follow you or be looking at a particular topic but where do we draw the line? I would say, we draw it at Funerals…

Funeral Selfies

When did we become such an antagonistic society? It used to be that those people were in the minority, now it seems that this freedom has given us a thought process that says “I can do what I like and post what I like because I can”. This is surely depressing to any normal person, with sensitivity and common decency traded in for “likes” and “shares”. The relatively new craze of funeral selfies has split opinion online. The fact that it has split opinion at all is shocking to some, as you would have thought perhaps there’s nothing to split. It’s a funeral. It’s a time to reflect and mourn someone’s life, to lay them to rest and to say goodbye. For family members this is an incredibly hard time, possibly letting go of someone who meant so much to them in their lives. For friends, they have lost someone close to them that they once knew. Who, perhaps they had been friends with for a long time and who made an impact in their lives. So is this really the time for guests or “friends of the family” to be taking snaps of themselves showing off their latest mourning outfit? Or playing to the camera with a smile at what should be a sombre affair?

Context

There is of course the argument that not every funeral is the same. With some funerals preferring to celebrate life by holding a more fun and uplifting event according to the deceased’s wishes and indeed, there are those who believe it should be a life-affirming affair, rather than a miserable, desperate time of mourning and crying. I appreciate this is the case for some but for the most part, certainly in the UK, funerals are traditionally sombre in mood. But even at a more invigorated funeral is there really a need to make that day about yourself? Taking snaps of your new party outfit on the day you are burying someone you loved isn’t exactly heart-warming and just appears selfish.

So what about selfies that take place before you leave the house? In fairness the majority of these funeral selfies are actually taken before the person even leaves the house to go to the funeral. This may assuage some naysayers but surely, again, the day is for mourning and not for snapping poses of stupid grins and fancy outfits, regardless of whether they are at the funeral itself, or not.

How does it stop?

It doesn’t. Until another “FAD” comes along and takes people’s interest it will probably continue. As with the more traditional “photo-bombing” and more-recent “planking” crazes this will eventually die down. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help when World Leaders join in with the trend, whether knowingly or not, the Obama-Cameron-Schmidt selfie at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela shocked a lot of people and was seen as insensitive and inappropriate. Depending on which side of the fence you come down on will decide on whether you thought that Nelson Mandela would perhaps have laughed about it all or seen it as a disappointing lack of humanity at that moment.

Interestingly, there was also a picture of Bono and President George W. Bush at the memorial service but this appeared to be taken by a third party. Does this make it more respectable?..more acceptable? Or does the act of those taking the photo provide a different meaning to the picture?

 

Author Bio: Charlie writes for HW Mason as well as freelancing for other companies. He loves technology, video games and sport.