It's a bit ironic in the modern sense of the word that I've been complaining about social network services, and then my sister died, and now I'm very grateful for them. With very casual online friends, I always wondered whether to say anything when they posted bad news. Would I sound presumptuous?
Now I know the answer. You don't have to say much. A simple "I'm sorry" or "I can't imagine what you're going through" is appreciated. Longer stories are touching too, even from total strangers. Death should tell us that we're all family.
My increased appreciation of social networks doesn't affect my resolve to spend less time online, but I won't cut myself off entirely. If ever there's anything anyone thinks I should know, don't hesitate to leave an off-topic comment on a post or write me. I'm "shetterly" at gmail.