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«In some instances it seems that the public aspect becomes more important to the griever than the private one. This may be the case in the frequent postings by people who claim to have not really known the deceased well but are nonetheless struck by the loss. A feeling of being part of a group becomes especially important to these posters, both in the sense that they experienced the loss of the deceased on a community level—sudden death confronts the poster with the fact of his own fragile mortality—and in the sense that the act of expressing sorrow on a public page joins them to the supposed community of grievers. In this band of isolated mourners, the bereft acquaintance can easily enter the online grieving process, avoiding the awkwardness of interacting with the close friends and immediate family of the deceased, to whom this grief is socially supposed to belong. As could be expected, this seems especially prevalent in cases of particularly random deaths, such as that of a Wal-Mart employee who was killed in the parking lot by a stranger who began indiscriminately firing a gun. With car accidents and suicides, there is often some notion of personal responsibility—maybe the victim was driving too fast or going somewhere he should not have been—but in cases of random violence, the pure unpredictability of death is shocking» [Robert Dobler, «Ghosts in the Machine: Mourning the MySpace Dead», στο Trevor J. Blank (ed.), Folklore and the Internet. Vernacular Expression in a Digital World, Utah State University Press, 2009]

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