Digital Grief: Addressing Death Over Social Media

By: Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services
Saturday, October 12, 2019

The digital age has made it easy to share everything, all of the time. In recent years, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms have become widely used for all sorts of milestone announcements. It's not unusual to see weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and other achievements celebrated online. But what about funerals? Is it appropriate to publicize a death in the digital space?

When it comes to announcing the loss of a loved one, social media can be a quick and efficient way to deliver your message to a large group of people. The key lies in using this helpful tool correctly. Here are seven important things to know before you take to social media regarding a passing.

 

Let the decedent’s closest family members make the first announcement.

While anyone affected by a death can feel the urge to share the news on social media, these announcements should be left to the deceased person’s closest family members. They should have the right to decide when, what, and how they want to post. Once they’ve made an announcement, note what information has been shared in their post, then follow their lead in showing your support.

Honor the family’s privacy.

When people hear of a death on social media, they may be understandably curious. But respecting the privacy of those who are mourning the loss of their loved one should be of the utmost importance. If their social media post doesn’t indicate the specifics of the passing, there’s probably a reason that they excluded that information. Even if you do know details that weren’t shared, it isn’t your place to make that information public.

Include funeral or memorial service information.

If you are in the position of initially sharing the news of your loved one’s passing, it may be better to wait until you know details about the funeral before announcing the death on social media. This allows you to create one post with news of the death and the pertinent funeral information, including the date, time and location of the service. Otherwise, people will probably start contacting you or commenting on your post with questions, which will ultimately require more effort from you during a difficult time.

Get the facts straight.

When announcing someone’s passing online, there’s nothing worse than getting details of their life wrong, sharing inaccurate funeral arrangement information, or misspelling their name. Misinformation like this can spread fast and cause serious damage.

Check your privacy settings.

When posting, sharing, or commenting on any sensitive information, it’s important to know who can view it. Many people have a variety of social media privacy settings, and they may think only a select few can see a particular post when in actuality, it’s public to complete strangers. For example, your Instagram may override your Facebook settings, or your phone may have a different privacy setting than your tablet does. Before posting or sharing delicate information, verify who can see it.

What would the deceased wanted?

One of the easiest ways to decide if it’s appropriate to announce a death on social media is to think about the desires of the one who has passed. If he or she was particularly private or had a dislike for social media, it probably wouldn’t be fitting to broadcast their death through these channels. On the other hand, if the deceased had many social media connections and frequently posted to one platform or another, they might have preferred that method of sharing the news.

Consider creating a living memorial with Facebook.

If your deceased loved one had a Facebook account, you may be able to memorialize it. Facebook recently made this option available to the families of those who have passed away. When a Facebook profile is memorialized, it can no longer be logged into and the account will no longer appear in search results. However, existing ‘friends’ of the account holder can still view the page and share photos or other memories. It can be a wonderful way to create a digital legacy for your loved one while keeping his or her memory alive for years to come.

Announcing the death of a loved one to the world is never easy.

Whichever avenue you choose to make the announcement, it requires discretion, sensitivity and tact. Any post you create needs to be respectful to the one who has passed, as well as to those receiving the news.

If you’ve lost a beloved friend or family member and need resources for sharing the news or other forms of support, please reach out to our caring team. Our compassionate funeral directors are always available to assist you in your time of need.

About Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization serving three states, Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to thousands of grieving families. We promise to provide our highest level of distinguished service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. In all aspects of the funeral process, we strive to be the absolute best and are honored to help preserve our clients’ legacies for future generations. With three convenient locations serving both North and West Philadelphia, as well as Trenton and Drexel Hill, it is always our pleasure to be of service. Please visit our website for more information.

 

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Grief Support Groups: Get to Know the Positives and the Pitfalls

Are you considering joining a grief support group? Maybe it’s something that you’ve thought about but are just now considering seriously. Or perhaps finding a bereavement group was suggested to you...

Creative Ways to Use Cremated Ashes to Honor Your Loved One

Over the last decade, cremation has become the preferred funeral option in the United States. By 2040, it’s expected that cremation will represent an astonishing 80% of all end-of-life dispositions...

Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services is Prepared to Safely Care for Our Families During the COVID-19 Health Emergency

While our nation continues to develop its response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services remains committed to providing the highest quality of care to families in...

The Protocol for Funeral Processions: Ten Things You Should Know

A key part of good funeral etiquette involves following the protocols for the procession. Even if you’ve never participated in one, chances are that you’ve seen a funeral procession—also known as a...

Six Important Things to Consider When Choosing an Urn

When you’re searching for a cremation urn for your loved one’s remains, it’s important to get it right. You may be surprised by the endless array of options available. From modest wooden boxes to...

Six Ways You Can Help a Loved One Cope with Hearing Loss

When someone you love experiences hearing loss, your interactions with them may begin to change. Conversations that once felt easy may now be rife with frustration and misunderstanding. The ...

Have You Ever Wondered Why Cremation is Surging in Popularity?

In 1958, less than 4 percent of Americans were cremated. By 2035, that number is expected to approach 80 percent. What’s behind this massive shift?  As more ...

Telling Your Parents They Need to Stop Driving Isn’t Easy: These Tips Can Help

At first, you notice that mom or dad doesn’t seem comfortable behind the wheel anymore. They may hesitate a little too often, drive at inappropriate speeds, or frequently j...

Understanding the Fog of Grief: No, You Aren’t Losing Your Mind

Experiencing brain fog after the death of a loved one? You’re not alone. A significant loss or death can trigger a host of reactions in your body and mind. While you may know to expect t...

The Best Strategies for Coping with Grief in the New Year

“Little by little, we let go of loss…but never of love.”  When you lose someone special, the world seems to lack its celebratory qualities. Whether your loved one die...