I didn't think much of Max's post about being in the hospital. It sounded serious but not life-threatening, and I had seen other friends make similar posts only to share recipes for cupcakes shaped like dongs a day later. Throw in the fact that it was late, and I barely comprehended it before browsing a few more updates and going to bed.
By the time I checked Facebook the following day, the condolences had begun. I skimmed through them, as I had forgotten Max's last post and didn't understand their meaning. By the time my memory kicked in and connected the dots, I was already deep into cat pictures and weekend drinking plans, and that robbed the death of the impact it deserved. "Oh hey, Alex is throwing a party. Oh hey, Max died. Oh hey, Lisa's dog is adorable!"
"But, why does it look so tired?"
There's no good way to learn about a sudden death. A visit from a solemn police officer wouldn't be too bad, nor would watching your friend just fail to clear the last of the flaming school buses on his motorcycle and go out in a bitchin' explosion that everyone would remember forever. But, Facebook is pretty much the worst way to learn of such matters -- short of getting your friend's head in the mail. You're constantly being bombarded with trivial information, making it impossible to take the news seriously and give it respectful consideration. It would be like that cop on your doorstep, offering his most sincere condolences and then immediately asking if you caught the game last night, followed by a "come at me, bro" joke and a 30-minute speech about his feelings on gay marriage.