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Facebook: The Country of Zombies; How Death is Represented in Social Media

Kinga Gruszecka, Pawel Wronski and Tyler Maran
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Kinga Gruszecka: Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Poland
Pawel Wronski: Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Poland
Tyler Maran: Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, Georgia, USA

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Abstract: Many trends and changes made by new forms of media are well observed, researched, and predictable. However, the representation of death in virtual reality and its impact on non-virtual life remains undiscovered. This is largely due to a cultural taboo which prohibits mentioning personal death. Nonetheless, the net generation has escaped this taboo and far more freely deliberates about passing away. Social media has become the primary tool for sharing this kind of experience. This virtual penetration into non-virtual reality (and visa-versa) has stimulated unobserved trend, the social media’s acceptance of death. Attributes of death have materialized into mainstream media; people write blogs and posts about those they have lost, and relatives will often maintain accounts on social networking sites of those who died. Analysis in this paper focuses on the last seven years (since 2006). However, an explanation of taboo surrounding death has a wider theoretical context, and must start at the end of 19th century. The goal of the paper is to examine how the familiarity with death throughout social networking with the inability to differentiate between virtual and non-virtual reality may create a form of zombie networking, and what it means for companies and society.

Keywords: social network; innovation; solidarity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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