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Robin Williams Robin Williams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Robin Williams died yesterday. Without question it was an unexpected tragedy.

Each time a celebrity dies unexpectedly I am surprised. What surprised me again this time was the number of Facebook tributes with people sharing their personal memories of watching his films, or offering condolences to his wife and family, or just words directly to Mr. Williams. My twitter account is also overrun with tweets about Mr. Williams. What did people do in the days before they had to limit their grief to 140 characters? Why are we so drawn to making statements about tragedies (about celebrities and non-celebrities) on social media?

The news articles no longer run quotes from celebrities, they cite tweets.

Steve Martin’s tweet was exceptionally eloquent:

I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.

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