Torrey Smith Dealing with Grief in the Midst of Nasty Twitter War

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New England fan’s tweet about the death of Smith’s brother shows the power of grief in social networking, says faith-based website, followme.org.

Yet, while there is room for cruelty and insensitivity, there is also room for an outpouring of healthy, uplifting support for Torrey Smith and people who are dealing with death.

Faith-based website, followme.org, says the fallout from one fan’s tweet about Smith’s death of a loved one reveals the negative potential for grief-sharing on Twitter—and the positive potential.

That statement came today as the Twitterverse continues to erupt over a controversial tweet related to the death of an NFL player’s brother.

Early Sunday morning, Tevin Smith, the brother of Baltimore Ravens wide receiver, Torrey Smith, died in a motorcycle accident. On Sunday night, Smith and the Ravens played in Tevin’s memory, defeating the New England Patriots 31-30.

Smith scored two touchdowns in the victory, but not all fans watching Sunday’s game celebrated Smith’s performance. Baltimore resident and Twitter user, Katiebrady12, ignited a firestorm that night when she tweeted, “Hey, Smith, how about you call your bro and tell him about your wi--- ohhhh. Wait. #TooSoon?”

The Twitterverse exploded in response to Katiebrady12’s comment.

Since sending out that tweet, Katiebrady12 has received hundreds of angry tweets in response, according to the Balitmore Sun’s report from yesterday. Many wish the user harm, labeling her with vulgar expletives and listing her personal contact information. Hundreds of users have even e-mailed Katiebrady12’s supervisor at John Hopkins School of Medicine to request her dismissal, according to the Sun.

The blowback has been so harsh that the user behind Katiebrady12 that she has switched her Twitter settings to private, stopping non-followers from viewing her profile, the Sun reported. Just before changing her Twitter settings, Katiebrady12 tweeted an apology for her actions.

Katiebrady12 described the fallout in several tweets later issued: “I apologized and I meant it… I just can’t control if people think I’m really sorry” and “I’m currently getting death threats and people posting my home address.”

So what can people learn from Katiebrady12 about responding to grief through social media? Followme.org is a faith-based website that provides resources for dealing with grief in the digital age. Its founder suggests that the Torrey Smith story sheds light on grieving in the age of Twitter and Facebook.

“Working through the stages of grief is hard enough without having to monitor the world’s reaction to your grief. While social networking connects us more than ever before, it opens the door to a whole new level of commentary on the events of people’s lives and deaths,” said Pastor Jamie of followme.org.

“Yet, while there is room for cruelty and insensitivity, there is also room for an outpouring of healthy, uplifting support for Torrey Smith and people who are dealing with death,” he said. For more information, please visit http://www.followme.org.

Smith and his family have not acknowledged the tweet, and they request privacy as they continue to cope with the death of their loved one, the Baltimore Sun reported.

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Jeff White
FollowMe.org
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