Social media gathers like-minded people together. And when tragedy strikes it can be a billboard of remembrance. Missouri Southern State University offensive line coach Derek Moore was shot and killed outside a movie theater in Joplin, Missouri on Friday-the night before Homecoming. Players, friends, and colleagues took to Twitter to express their grief and remember their coach and friend. Moore, 37, was in his first year with MSSU. He previously coached for three seasons at Western Illinois University.
Expressing grief on social media helps friends and family to gather virtually to mourn a loss and celebrate a life. Dr. April Hames of the Columbia Counseling Center says that the use of social media in grieving may help people openly express their grief-an important part of the healing process.
Moore's Twitter account and the athletic department account have become a chronology of messages from friends and players who hope to share their memories and their personal grief:
Whether we're comfortable with it or not, social media has become a public stage for human emotion. Facebook, Twitter, and other channels offer a valuable medium for people looking to express sorrow, grief, anger, and every emotion in between. And social media also fosters an environment of community that allows people to feel like they are all together in one big room. My thoughts and prayers go out to the MSSU community and to the seven-year old son this senseless tragedy has left behind.