Is Twittering at a funeral going too far?

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funeral.jpgWe’re big fans of Twitter here at Tech Digest, especially as they seem to have sorted out most of the reliability issues now. We’re big fans of live-blogging too – we recently liveblogged the Apple iTunes 8 press conference and Sharp at IFA. We’re also big fans of funerals… no. Just kidding.

A news reporter named Berny Morson from Rocky Mountain in Colorado has come under fire for Twittering a funeral of a three-year-old boy. The kid died after a car smashed into an ice cream store. The news reporter’s updates (which, at the time of writing, are still live) report the events of the service in a respectful, unemotional way. Here’s a sample:

“coffin lowered into ground 10:18 AM September 10, 2008”

“people gathering at graveside 10:14 AM September 10, 2008”

“procession begins 10:01 AM September 10, 2008”

“cars queueing up to follow hearse 09:59 AM September 10, 2008”

This hasn’t stopped many sectors of the media from heavily criticising the reporting, saying that this was an unnecessary intrusion into the family’s memorial service. The Guardian declared it “top of (their) Inappropriate Use of Technology chart”.

The Rabbi who officiated the funeral, however, didn’t see anything wrong with the act, saying that it was about sharing the event with the wider community. I’m inclined to agree. The parents allowed the paper to report on the service, and it goes up on their website anyway, so why does the platform make much difference?

Disagree? Think that Twitter should be just for “I’m waiting for a bus”-style updates? Let us know in the comments, oh, and follow us on Twitter too.

Rocky Mountain News (via ReadWriteWeb)

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Duncan Geere

4 comments

  • Sounds like the kind of thing that would affect a small community enough for them to want to feel like they’re joining in. If the parents and the Rabbi are cool with it then that trumps what anyone else thinks about it, really.

    Twitter is still rubbish, though.

  • I suppose there is always going to be something that is unemotional about these kind of updates via Twitter. But I don’t really think it would be any better if he put more feeling into it (it might even be worse). My issue is that I simply don’t think it is appropriate use of technology. The fact that he is even fumbling around with gadgets during a funeral is horrendous (something straight out of Alan Partridge). Also it doesn’t add anything to the reporting of events.

  • I’ve got to say, having read the Twitter feed, I’d have to disagree and say it’s inappropriate. “coffin lowered into ground… rabbi calls end to ceremony…family members shovel earth into grave”. It’s almost the unemotional nature of them that cause the issue for me.

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