Remembering a Duke fan on Twitter

embedded tweet


Grieving via Twitter. Maybe your knee-jerk reaction to the thought is confusion. Usually, people ask to be left alone to grieve in private. But not everyone. And public grieving—even on Twitter— can actually be touching.

Take what happened to me a couple of weeks ago: The account I help manage (@DukeU) was suddenly barraged by tweets of a kind usually reserved for celebrities and way-too-famous people. A twitter campaign had been started by a girl named Brooke begging us to mention Duke fan Dylan Coen. It turns out that earlier that week, Dylan had died. And high school girlfriend Brooke decided she could honor him by bringing together her small Brunswick, Georgia community around a tweet.

@DukeU please mention Dylan Coen tonight!!!! He was a #1 fan. We had his funeral today. We was 18 years old!! #sadday

“please RT this too show brunswick some support!”

“We. Will. Not. Stop. @DukeU

“it would mean the world to us if you could RT @broookayee ‘s tweet. We are fighting for our angel”

At first I was shocked (and impressed with Brooke’s dedication). We don’t really consider the Duke twitter account to be highly in-demand. But there are many fans out there who feel extremely connected to Duke because of the powerhouse Duke basketball program. And ultimately, fans just want to be recognized for their dedication. I think this drove Brooke to seek that recognition that Dylan would have enjoyed so much, as a way to honor him. One last big romantic gesture.

embedded tweet

embedded tweet

We were glad to be able to play a role in the town’s grieving process.