LOG-ON, CHECK IN, AND SEEK SUPPORT: A COMPARATIVE CONTENT ANALYSIS ON THE IMPACT OF COLLECTIVE MOURNING AS A MODERN FORM OF GRIEF COMMUNICATION
Grief has evolved throughout the digital age with the introduction of social media platforms and online support groups. This comparative content analysis focused on selected social media support groups and the interactions that impact the users’ ability to process and communicate personal grief. Specifically, this study examined communication theories and processes related to grieving the death of a loved one. Patterns of human behavior via computer mediated technology emerged utilizing a content analysis methodological approach to analyze online memorialization, grief sharing, and collective social support. Two Facebook support groups were examined. From personal stories to pleas for help and hope, the postings revealed communication patterns associated with human behavior and the perceived connection that social media provided the bereaved members of both selected groups. As society progresses and technologies advance, the presentation and communication of emotion have evolved. Group posts, comments, and interactions observed in this study provided an example of grief communication that social media groups may offer grieving individuals. Findings indicated in the research conducted may indicate a cultural shift in the healing role computer mediated communication (CMC) may deliver throughout the journey of grief.