Twittering a funeral?

September 15, 2008

Yeah, I don’t think we really needed this. A reporter for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver kept up a running stream of tweets at the funeral of a 3-year-old boy killed by an unlicensed driver. Here’s the Rocky’s story (look at the “live updates box” for the tweet stream).

For the uninitiated, “tweets” are the brief text transmissions (no more than 140 characters) that people send out on Twitter, a Web-based microblogging service. Basically, you can let the world know what you’re doing and thinking at any given moment.

Twitter was used to great effect as a news channel during the Republican National Convention last week, but to sit at a toddler’s funeral and do a play-by-play seems to me like trivializing the event.

Responding to complaints like mine, the newspaper’s editor defended the funeral coverage here.

Here are the messages that the Rocky just had to share with the world in real time:

RMN_Berny: family members shovel earth into grave
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 11:40 a.m.
RMN_Berny: rabbi calls end to ceremony
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 11:28 a.m.
RMN_Berny: rabbi chanting final prayer in hebrew
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 11:27 a.m.
RMN_Berny: earth being placed on coffin.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 11:22 a.m.
RMN_Berny: rabbi recites the main hebrew prayer of death
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 11:20 a.m.
RMN_Berny: rabbi zucker praying
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 11:18 a.m.
RMN_Berny: coffin lowered into ground
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 11:18 a.m.
RMN_Berny: people gathering at graveside
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 11:14 a.m.
RMN_Berny: procession begins
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 11:01 a.m.
RMN_Berny: cars queueing up to follow hearse
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:59 a.m.
RMN_Berny: pallbearers carry out coffin followed by mourners.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:48 a.m.
RMN_Berny: people again are sobbing. rabbi again asks god to give
marten everlasting life.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:46 a.m.
RMN_Berny: video shows marten blowing out candles on birthday cake,
marten with dog. last images are of headlines.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:44 a.m.
RMN_Berny: video of marten is projected on screen.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:32 a.m.
RMN_Berny: rabbi says marten is close to god now.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:31 a.m.
RMN_Berny: rabbi says marten loved to be tickled. calls the death a
nightmare. no words can sooth us, he says.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:28 a.m.
RMN_Berny: family member says marten is with grandmother who died
last year. ‘ marten we loved you,’ he says. People sobbing.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:22 a.m.
RMN_Berny: family member remembers marten.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:20 a.m.
RMN_Berny: rabbi says we will always remember marten and he will live
in our memory.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:18 a.m.
RMN_Berny: rabbi recites 23rd psalm.
Wednesday, Sep. 10, 10:16 a.m.