Social media is changing everything about the way we live. A local tragedy caused that message to hit home once again. Christene Rivera was murdered on Saturday. She was a listener who had “friended” me on Facebook in January. She used the name Michelle Mabe Rivera online and would sometimes comment on my posts and invite me to her events at her business. I am almost positive that we met at the March for Babies this past April. Not sure what else to do, I posted a note asking other listeners to pray for the repose of her soul.
In radio’s past, most of our listeners remained anonymous to us. The only names we would know were the active contest players who seemed to win every 45 days. Because of Facebook and Twitter, it is easier than ever for us to get to know our audience. Michelle’s murder reminded me of another death that happened before the prevalence of Facebook and Twitter. Exactly four years earlier, Christina Eubanks’ body was found in a shallow creek. I recognized her face on the news as a frequent attendee at Einstein Simplified shows.
Two other tragic events are being documented online. Katie Allison Granju’s son Henry died last week. She has written about the drug addiction and beating that led to Henry’s brain injury and death. I met Katie once at a “blogfest” organized by Rich Hailey, my friend and “blogfather.” Just before Henry died, Rich’s son Luke was badly injured in an automobile accident. He has written several powerful pieces about the overlap between the boys’ hospitalizations and about his feelings as a parent.