#RIP: Social Media and the Changing Experience of Life and Death
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The mediated closeness experienced by social media users is built on the ongoing accumulation of personal information by corporate owned social media platforms. Each user’s digital footprint becomes more intricate as this collection continues across their life’s procession, leaving something behind after they die. Social media platforms have become intimately insinuated into life and finally, into death. These haphazard archives were never created with death or grief in mind. But users die, and their friends and family use social media to grieve; death isn’t something a platform or its users can avoid. This thesis examines the ways that death and grief are experienced and how social media is facilitating and changing that process. The study approaches social media and death historically, discursively, and economically. It discusses the history of mediated death, the experience of grief over social media, and the political economy of the socially mediated dead.