In July, NPR host Scott Simon started tweeting from the Chicago hospital room where his mother, Patricia, landed after complications from surgery. For the next week, Scott tweets became a real-time record of her decline for his more than 1.2 million followers on twitter. His raw, often bittersweet posts went viral among celebrities, media outlets and strangers drawn by his example of public grief.
The extraordinary response to Scott’s twitter vigil stirred up conversations about the taboo topic of death in America – and a debate on social media’s place in mourning. Paul Bisceglio edits the online literary magazine The Land That I Live. He wrote about how social media is changing the way we approach death for The Atlantic.