Jewish Journal

Twitter, prayers and grief

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 21, 2009 | 1:11 pm

I regularly see Twitter updates asking for prayer. And I’ve never thought there was anything weird or inappropriate about that. Further, I think it’s a great use of social media.

So why the hate?

As Shellie Ross waited in a hospital for word on her son, Bryson, she posted this note to the social networking site Twitter.com: “Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool.”

She found out 19 minutes later that Bryson was dead.

Ross’ decision to broadcast that message Monday night to more than 5,300 people who follow her posts on Twitter has unleashed torrents of support and derision. Social networking experts and friends said Ross was right to reach out for help, while critics questioned whether her son would be alive if she spent less time online.

“Could this child’s death have been averted had the mom not been on Twitter all day?” asked Madison McGraw, a personal security guard and writer who blogs at madisonmcgraw.com. “This woman spent all of her time on Twitter. It was unbelievable,” said McGraw, who lives outside of Philadelphia and doesn’t know Ross.

Everybody’s a pundit.

Indeed, children are 100 times more likely to drown in a pool than be killed by a firearm. But it is absurd to suggest that just because someone was blogging or tweeting that they were responsible for their child drowning. Sadly, kids have been drowning in pools since swimming pools became a marker of American suburbia. Despite what the above video from the David Crowder Band says, Twitter doesn’t actually kill you.

Tracker Pixel for Entry


View our privacy policy and terms of service.




Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

Read more.