The Death of Amy Winehouse And What Twitter Had To Say About It

Amy Winehouse’s funeral was today, and while my blog isn’t a celebrity one, it did get me to thinking about celebrities and how we treat them in a digital era.


When I was 14 Kurt Cobain died. I was a huge Nirvana fan and found a great deal of solace in their music – particularly during the hard introduction to puberty. After he died I did what a typical teenage girl with a broken heart would do – I burnt a poster of him and kept the ashes in an old jam jar. Gag I know, but to me it seemed like a fitting send off, and looking back on it – as creepy as it was – it had a sweet niavity to it that I kinda like.

Fast forward to 2011; we lose another great young talent who was plagued by addiction and celebrity. This time though we have more outlets for our grieving, judgements, thoughts and haikus than we ever had. For better or worse we have an instant audience who will listen to any grain of crap we decide to publish. Sadly Winehouse’s death incited some of the most appalling tweets I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading. Bryony Gordon of UK’s Telegraph put it well when she said the conversations on Twitter were like “the online equivalent of slowing down to look at a traffic accident”.

Along with the surprisingly popular sentiment that Winehouse’s addiction somehow made her unworthy of respect, even in death, was this doozy from Microsoft:

They’ve since apologized, but nonetheless I find it interesting, sad and somewhat heartbreaking that technology has had such a profound affect on what we consider public domain. Remember those days when you did things in private – when you contemplated in absolute silence, without an audience? When something was sad, or hell even AWESOME, and you chose to reflect on it rather than tweet it?

Is there a point where too much freedom to tweet is a bad thing?