social networking

Mother “updated Twitter while son was dying”

I just saw this news article thanks to a tweet from @MarketerMikeE:

Mother ‘updated Twitter while son was dying’

The article says, “A mother who posted updates on Twitter as rescue workers tried to save her dying son has sparked debate over the use of the microblogging website.”  And so I wanted to hear others opinions on this.

When I first saw the headline, I was outraged.

But as the article describes it, she found her 2 year old floating in the pool and called 911.  Paramedics arrived at 5:38 PM and she tweeted “Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool” at 6:12 PM, 34 minutes.  So, it’s not as if she tweeted when she should have been helping her son.

Then 5 hours later after her son was pronounced dead she tweeted, “Remembering my million dollar baby.”

What do you think?  Is this outrageous? Inappropriate?  Or does it seem perfectly reasonable to you?

[image by ouij]

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.


  • I've been the mom who found a child unresponsive (mine was in her bed), called 911, and several hours later finally was able to tell people that we'd lost her. I can vouch for the fact that about half an hour after you call (approximately when she tweeted), there's nothing you as a parent can do. Your child is in the hands of the EMTs. I was fortunate to have my husband there with me. Her husband is with our armed services overseas. She reached out for help the best way she could — a tweet is a whole lot easier than a phone call in a moment when you can hardly form words you are so scared, and it reaches far more people instantly. I think it's perfectly reasonable.

  • Got the same backlash when I told people I tweeted a prayer request when my husband had a heart attack at home. I had already done CPR and the 7 paramedics filled the room working on him non-stop. I made a few calls to family members, then sent out a twitter request for prayer. Funny – no one thought the phone calls to family were a bad idea. Wasn't like I could do anything else. And if you believe in the power of prayer, why wouldn't you ask for it? Bill survived a heart attack that should have killed him. I'm happy to say we'll be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in 4 days! Prayer works folks.

  • Hey Mary Beth, I agree. I think the tweet asking for prayers was completely appropriate. In fact I hope my friends on Twitter will tweet when in dire circumstances so i can pray for them.

    I think for family members or close friends to find out about a death via Twitter or FB would be inappropriate. I think that would show a lack of concern for them. Call the people you love, then later post to FB & Twitter so your more casual friends/acquaintances can pray for the family.

  • Where is the controversy?
    She asked her friends to pray, then when prayer was no longer needed she updated everyone.
    An opportunity for a lot of people to pray in one single message than wasting time phoning up everyone

  • 2:21 PM Tuesday December 22nd, 2009

    This mother did what was appropriate under the circumstances. God is the behind-the-scene creator of the Internet. Using it to contact Him is certainly acceptable.

    Dr. E. J. Pettus

  • I don't see this as inappropriate but for my part the very last thing I think about is my social network freinds – no slight on them but it just doesn't enter my head to do that.

    I'm wired differently I guess 🙂

    I will make phone calls though and am currently undertaking a task that (if adopted by my Church) will make it easier for members to get / send prayer requests so whilst I don't do it I'm trying to create something that would copy a social network approach in a private way.

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