An old friend was more subtle; she changed her Facebook profile photo to one of her and her mom and then wrote how sad she was on her wall. Facebook friends immediately responded, some expressing their sympathy while others sharing their memories from long ago.
Obituaries and death notices have been the conventional methods to communicate news of a death. Has Facebook become a more informal venue to communicate the news to a more targeted audience?
I’m fascinated with the messages of condolences on Facebook; but I don’t write them. It’s just too impersonal for me. When I see a posting that there’s been a death, I take some time to process the loss and decide how I would like to connect. Chances are if I’m reading it on Facebook, it’s an old connection and one I solely communicate with on Facebook. If that’s the case, I will compose condolences and send it as a message through Facebook. This feels more personal to me, and hopefully, to the bereaved.
Not everyone feels this way. I’ve heard from friends and classmates that they have found Facebook posts quite meaningful after a loss. Former classmates shared forgotten stories of their parents and siblings that touched their hearts. They say their old friends from home have more meaningful memories of their families than their current friends. And while a strong circle of support is comforting while grieving, it’s these former relationships that resonate with their remembrances.
For better or worse, social media is influencing the way we communicate and grieve our losses. What are your thoughts on using Facebook for this purpose?