A Social Media Mourning

Ryan Suenaga, 44, of Kaneohe, was a social worker, volunteer and a prominent figure in Hawaii's social media community. He was not shy about documenting his life through social media. He fell silent after his death, but Hawaii's social media community had much to say. This is a timeline of Sunday's events, and the online mourning process that happened quickly after.

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  1. This tweet indicated that he was on a hike with a few of his closest friends on Twitter. Suenaga was known to tweet minute-to-minute details of his life, especially his athletic activity. 
  2. One of his friends, Michael Choy, tweeted pictures of the hike as it continued through the morning. Sometime after these pictures were posted, Suenaga went missing.
  3. This was Suenaga's last tweet, referring to how many peaks his group planned to hike on Sunday.
  4. The local media began reporting of a hiker's death on Olomana Sunday morning, and Twitter users began to connect the dots. Tweets from other hikers on the trail suddenly stopped, which alarmed many friends.
  5. As the evening news came on, whispers of the hiker's identity flowed through Hawaii's social media coconut wireless. Vague tweets were sent, expressing grief and denial, but at the same time not identifying Suenaga out of respect for his next of kin. 
  6. Friends began openly mourning Suenaga's death, by naming him on Twitter, posting on his Facebook profile, and posting tribute pictures of him on their Flickr accounts.
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