Posts Tagged ‘death’


Honoring Lost Loved Ones With Social Media

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Death is a sensitive subject.  As human beings, it’s hard for us to grasp the concept that someone is here one minute, and then gone the next.  When someone passes away, it creates extremely differing opinions about how that person should be referenced on social media sites.  Should their Facebook page come down, or should it stay up to allow friends and family to leave memories on their wall?  What’s an appropriate response on Twitter?  Why are so many people interested in following a recently deceased celebrity?

Ryan Dunn, member of the infamous Jackass crew, had approximately 30,000 followers before he recently and tragically passed away.  He now has over 146,000.  Is this appropriate?  Some of these new followers are attempting to show their support for his friends and family, while others might simply be looking to be the first to know about new developments in a fresh news story.

Thankfully, the world of social media has begun to suggest and provide ways to memorialize loved ones that have passed away. Facebook, which has stated that over 200,000 members die each year, used to be the main source of controversy.  After a few months without interacting with deceased person’s page, you will get a notice that you should “reconnect” with that person.  As you can imagine, that would be very disturbing.  Facebook responded by simply deleting a person’s profile if they learned that someone had passed away.

After the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, Facebook began offering a way to let them know that someone has died.  If you supply an obituary, they will allow you to convert their page into a memorial that gives people the ability to leave notes of remembrance.  However, the person does not appear in search results or suggestion feeds.

Another site has also become popular for honoring loved ones.  1000memories “gives you the power to record and share the life of a loved one, and discover the memories of others through our network.”  This site takes the guesswork out of what is appropriate and what is not.  When you tweet or post a thought on Facebook about a deceased person, your message could be totally appropriate, but it might make the grieving process difficult for someone that is trying to move on.  When you post on 1000memories, you know that your thoughts will only be seen by those that wish to remember with you.

Social media sites like this will play a key role in helping future generations learn about their ancestors.  Think how great it would be to be able to read thoughts and stories about your great-great-grandparents from the people that knew them best.  Your future family members will be able to do just that.