NPR host’s live-tweeting of his mother’s last moments shows the power of 140 characters

A powerful piece in the darkest of times.


By now, we’ve grown so accustomed to seeing Twitter used as a real-time news delivery system for events of global importance like an earthquake or a revolution that we forget how powerful it can be when used in an intensely personal way by a single person going through a life-changing event. National Public Radio host Scott Simon has been providing a lesson in that over the past couple of days, as he has been live tweeting the last days of his mother, Patricia, who is in the intensive care unit at a Chicago hospital.

Some observers have questioned whether Simon’s use of Twitter during such an intensely personal time is appropriate, or whether it is somehow exploitative and crass — just as some questioned whether my live-tweeting of a friend’s funeral last year was appropriate. But I think what Simon is doing is a powerful statement not just…

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