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>Twitter Counseling

>Welcome back to The Sports Ace, where cheaters in major sports never get to play real games – even in the minor leagues – before their suspensions are over.

So there’s been a hubbub on Twitter in the past few days about people being sick and tired of reading Tweets from people about Michael Jackson’s life, death and legacy. People have berated, snubbed and threatened to unfollow others over this, just because they don’t want to be exposed to Jackson dialogue anymore. I might be risking a few follows with this, but to all of you who are doing that: deal with it.

Let’s face it: one of Twitter’s top strengths is its ability to provide a forum for people to share news and experiences with each other, regardless of geography, in real time. When President Obama was inaugurated, millions of people around the world Facebooked and Tweeted each other, sharing in the experience and the significance of the day. Just as it was a great tool for sharing and community building in a time of celebration, why should it be any different in a time of sadness? That’s right, it shouldn’t – in fact, it might be even more important in bad times. All people are doing on Twitter is working through their natural grief processes together, in a community of people that supports them. People shouldn’t belittle or threaten others or put them down for coping with loss in any way, including this one.

And let’s remember, it takes time for people to grieve. As I write this, it’s been exactly one week since Jackson died. Anyone who’s ever lost someone/something that’s important to them knows that it can take days, weeks, months and even years to fully move on from a grief-inducing event. And we all grieve differently. Sure, Jackson isn’t a member of the vast majority of our immediate families. But his music brings an entire generation of people back to their childhood, and reminds many more of other memories in their life – many of those good. It’s been one week, people…there are lots of people out there still coping with Jackson’s death. And that’s perfectly normal and okay. It happens every time a song comes on the radio, or another news story hits the airwaves…it’s still very fresh. Heck, people are still grieving for Elvis.

Personally, I love how Twitter gives me a way to connect with others I respect and share really big events – both good and bad – with them in a way I couldn’t before. This is the essence of how Twitter builds community, and how members of that community support and pick each other up. If Twitter can help people work through major community/national events of loss or grief, such as Michael Jackson’s death, then I think it does a tremendous service to us all. We should be helping our neighbors, not tearing them down.

That’s all for now. I’m out like the King of Pop himself…RIP.

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