"Talking about his dead child, again!" Emotional self-management in relation to online mourning

Tobias Raun

Abstract


This paper explores a group of Dane’s motives for and experiences with using their personal Facebook profile to cope with the death of a close relative, based on extensive semi-structured media-go-along interviews. The focus of the article is on what I label emotional self-management, which came up repeatedly during the interviews as an integrated part of mourning online. It is argued that Facebook is used as an outlet for expressing thoughts and feelings that are often experienced as bypassed or silenced in off-line social interactions. However, these expressions of grief take place within a techno-social space, where one balances on a tight line between an allowed enactment of a private public self and a denigrated enactment of an oversharing, too transgressive intimate self. One is allowed to mourn but not excessively. In trying to balance sharing but not oversharing it is argued that the interviewees engage in continous dialog with multiple internal and external others.


Keywords


Facebook, Mourning, Self-management, Death, online emotions

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i11.7810



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