While Facebook has been the preferred platform for its users to share good news with their friends, a number of users are increasingly using the social networking site to break bad news as it helps them avoid the agony of speaking with their friends.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports some case studies of many women such as Aran Hissam, who posted the news that she was pregnant on Facebook.
AdvertisementHissam who got an ultrasound last year, debated on the site whether to learn the baby's gender, musing 'to peek or not to peek?'
According to the report, when she failed to post an update later that day, friends started to contact her.
Hissam, 35, decided to return to Facebook to share the news that her unborn baby, a girl, had been diagnosed with fetal hydrops and given no chance of survival.
"I wanted to communicate the news to get people off my back," Hissam, of Melbourne, Florida, said.
Although her husband was at first surprised that she would share such emotional news publicly, she said, Facebook seemed like one of the least difficult ways to get the word out.
"It was too draining to actually call everybody, because I couldn't emotionally speak about the same thing over and over," Hissam said, adding that she continued to post updates about her daughter, who was born at 35 weeks and lived for 15 hours, and it became a 'form of therapy for her'.
Facebook is increasingly also a place they go to break difficult news.
According to the report, posting bad news on a social media site eases the pain for the bearer of bad news and the recipient, because knowing what to say to someone who has just told you bad news can be one of the most socially fraught scenarios.
"If you put the news on Facebook, you are also maximising the recipient's comfort, so they can process the information on their own time," said Janet Sternberg, assistant professor of communication and media studies at New York's Fordham University.
"It's really hard to break bad news without crying or falling apart, but we can share painful news in less painful ways," Janet added.
"From a cognitive perspective, it's easier to deal with it this way. You post it, come back in eight hours and read all the comments that you get, and don't have to worry about having a difficult conversation," Louis Manza, a professor and chairman of the psychology department at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, said.
But some experts think putting bad news on Facebook almost inevitably trivialises it, to the sufferer's further detriment.
"If you post about someone's death or your divorce, it's not that different from typing 'I'm going to Starbucks'," said Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, California. When someone puts bad news on social media, she said.
"It's trying to show bravado, and pretending that you're not devastated by the news. It isn't good, because if you don't feel the feelings it interferes with your grief," she added.
Dr Lieberman said was far preferable to tell people in person, as "it is very human, very real and you have to deal with your feelings".
In pre-Facebook days, she said, we all had to make 50 difficult phone calls or ask friends and family to help - and we all managed to do it, the report added.
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