In the wake of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we thought we would share an insightful bit of commentary that was published at the Stanford College of Medicine Blog featuring psychiatrist Elias Aboujaoude, MD, an expert on the psychological effects of Internet usage and author of the recent book Virtually You: the Dangerous Power of the E-Personality.
Dr. Aboujaoude reflected on how integral to our lives social media has become, and how that extends to the way we grieve. However, she cautions that a 140-character Twitter message doesn’t really allow for the complexity and depth required for the healing process. She also discusses how video clips and other visual media of the tragedies might be a mixed bag – while it can help “access the emotions” for some, it may trigger PTSD symptoms in people who were more directly involved.
When asked about how things would be different if we had had Facebook, Twitter, etc., on 9/11/01 she replied:
“It is hard to say. Our attention span has shrunken since then. Our patience for one dominant story, regardless of how tragic or massive, is not what it used to be. We live in a more restless, faster-paced world now, and I wonder whether we would have had a harder time “staying in the moment” and giving the event the full attention and intense soul searching it deserved.”
Link to full interview : 9/11: Grieving in the age of social media
Image credit: Cait Hurley