Facebook and death: Using Social Media to Grieve and Memorialize

September 9, 2014
Advertisement

For many of Facebook’s estimated 1.3 billion active users, the social media platform has become an extension of their lives. Nearly every event is shared out with friends near and far. But what happens after that life has come to an end? Facebook has cornered the market on death too.

In yet another indication of how social media continues to take over our lives, over the last few years Facebook has become a place where users can process death. We come here to grieve for those we’ve lost, connect with family to celebrate and toast the lives of loved ones and even join the larger online community in remembering those who have passed on.

Now we can all die like celebrities

The recent death of comedian Robin Williams is a prime example of a worldwide conversation with a single point of focus. So many people were posting their thoughts and feelings at the loss of the beloved celebritythat most users’ News Feeds carried nothing else, prompting articles on how to filter your newsfeed to keep from being swamped by it.

Advertisement

Now, while much of the initial buzz has ended, Williams has a memorial page where followers can post photos and tell stories. It allows all those who loved and appreciated his work to gather in an online community, express their sorrow and grieve together.

In the pre-Facebook days, people would have been notified of the deaths of friends and loved ones via word of mouth or newspaper obituary columns – or (gasp!) by a personal phone call. They would have attended a funeral, connected with family and friends, and then moved on. And for those left behind, memorializing their loved one was a solitary activity, likely contained in photo albums.

Facebook has allowed an unprecedented level of interconnectivity and communication, allowing people all over the world to share their sorrow, even when unable to personally attend a funeral. And when the anniversary of that passing or some other significant event regarding that person comes up, sharing it on Facebook (which is now a regular – and somewhat disconcerting habit) allows others to share memories of the departed. And, depending on your social connections, you memory could live on for a very long time.

How Facebook keeps you alive

When a Facebook user dies, unless specific action is taken, their profile will continue on. This can lead to confusion and at-times awkward conversations with the surviving family. In an effort to mitigate this potential pain, Facebook allows for the surviving family to convert the page into a memorial. 
Those who are already friends with the individual will be able to post their thoughts and feelings to the deceased on the memorial page, but that profile will no longer be found in google searches nor will that profile be able to be tagged or added.

Only those who were close to the deceased and can offer proof of death can have access to changing the profile into a memorial.

In the case of celebrities like Williams, or when a good friend passes away but you do not have access to the account, there are still ways to memorialize. My Memorials is a Facebook based app that allows a user to create their own memorial page for a loved one or celebrity. The page can be shared, visitors can sign a guestbook and add their own photos and memories to the memorial.

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 10.59.06 AM

The business of death

Another app has been designed to help give those left behind some measure of closure in the case of death.If I Die is an app that allows a user to create a video or a text message that would be posted to their profile page in the event of death. Once the user has created their message, they entrust one or more of their Friends to activate the message if they should die.

While for some this might seem morbid, a common lament among those who surviving the passing of a loved one is the opportunity to ‘talk one last time’. While it is not a true dialogue, the If I Die message at least gives that sense of having the one final conversation.

Having the ability to connect with one another, even if only on a virtual level, can help with the grieving process. It binds us in a community, despite being spread across the world. Being able to memorialize loved ones, hear how others felt and share in that sense of loss can be healing in its way. If nothing else, it reminds us that we are not alone.

How do you feel about the role Facebook now plays in death?

Source: InsideFacebook.com


Not sure where to begin with Facebook ad management? Download our Facebook Advertising Guide

Ready to test the water with a small Facebook ad budget? Email: ryan@disruptmedia.co to get started!

Still need to learn more about social media and what DISRUPT Media does for funeral homes? Schedule a 15 minute demo with Ryan. Email ryan@disruptmedia.co or fill out the contact form here: http://www.disruptmedia.co/funeral

DISRUPT Media

DISRUPT Media

DISRUPT Media is a full service social media agency specializing in social media strategy, management and reporting for funeral companies. DISRUPT Media is the creator of the FUNERAL Social Design Process which is the only full service social media strategy program crafted specifically for the funeral profession.

Go to http://funeralsocial.com to find out more about the services we offer. Our clients who are apart of our FUNERAL Social Design Process are seeing an increase in post reach and engagement of over 300%.
DISRUPT Media
Advertisement

You may be interested

Leverage Rude Smartphone Use to Your Advantage
News
161 views
News
161 views

Leverage Rude Smartphone Use to Your Advantage

CDFuneralNews - December 13, 2017

It’s obvious. It’s everywhere. And, yes, it’s sometimes rude. People who own Smartphones constantly pull them out of their pockets…

CREATING FACEBOOK CONTENT THAT BOOSTS ENGAGEMENT | DISRUPTu! 033
DISRUPTu
44 views
DISRUPTu
44 views

CREATING FACEBOOK CONTENT THAT BOOSTS ENGAGEMENT | DISRUPTu! 033

CDFuneralNews - December 12, 2017

On this episode we answer questions like: Summarize what engagement looks like for you? Explain the difference between generic and…

FrontRunner Announces FuneralPay, a New Suite Of Tools Designed to Increase the Average Sale and Help Funeral Homes Get Paid Faster
Funeral Industry Press Releases
103 views
Funeral Industry Press Releases
103 views

FrontRunner Announces FuneralPay, a New Suite Of Tools Designed to Increase the Average Sale and Help Funeral Homes Get Paid Faster

CDFuneralNews - December 12, 2017

FrontRunner Professional has announced yet another technology solution that will help funeral homes save time and money, while offering families…

Comments