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Social Media Memorials

Facebook, Twitter, Instaram are Important Today - Even during Death


The death of a loved one can bring about emotional grief that can last for years, and memorials offer a great way for family members and friends to work through that grief. Increasingly, as technology becomes a overriding factor in our lives on Earth, the use of social media for memorials is taking over as the method of choice for many people, often eclipsing real life visits to cemeteries, or even funeral attendance, as the memorial means that loved ones find most helpful. In light of that – and because many people who are active in social media are young and, therefore, have not yet experienced a great deal of death among their friends and family – we offer this article as a brief introduction to some of the growing number of memorial options available through the internet and on social media.

What Social Media Sites Offer

Social media websites such as Google Plus, Facebook, and Twitter have well-thought out policies in place these days on how to deal with the accounts of their members who have passed away. In general, they do nothing, unless a family member or friend requests a service and can verify that a person has passed away. (The verification methods vary according to the social media site's policies and the various laws in the locale in which the deceased lived, but, in general, a death certificate or even an obituary are required to be submitted. These documents are usually fairly carefully inspected, of course, and a decision about a deceased member's site is almost always made , ultimately, by a “live” person who can evaluate submissions very carefullly rather than an automated system.) Once the social media site has verified a death, the organization will typically do one of three things, usually as requested by the deceased's loved ones: First, it may freeze the account – facebook calls this the “memorialization” option – thereby assuring that it stays exactly as is for as long as the social media site is in business. No one is allowed to make changes, but, rather, users can view the account in perpetuity, reading all that the deceased user posted for decades on in. If the family chooses this option, the site is usually updated one last time to indicate that it is now a “memorial site” and to explain that the owner has died. Second, it may assign authority to the account to an heir or family member. This can be legally tricky in cases in which a person has not been specific in his or her will about exactly who should run social media accounts, so most social media sites reserve the right to deny this option in the event the deceased's intentions can not be clearly determined. And, finally, the social media site may simply close a deceased's account outright. This option is rarely taken except at the behest of a family or friend who has somehow convinced the social media site's managers that it's the option the deceased most likely would have chosen.

It is important to keep in mind that those options we just discussed are related to the site that belongs to the deceased person himself or herself. All members of just about any social networking site certainly do have the option of beginning a new account that is devoted to nothing but memorials for the deceased. Further, individuals can also be found writing their own memorial posts that they publish on their individual accounts. These posts can pay memorial tribute to the deceased, but stay connected solely to the friend or loved-one's account.

What Funeral Homes And Newspapers Offer

While social media sites offer perhaps the most popular and widely acknowledge social media options for those wishing to memorialize a person online, there are many other options too. Funeral homes and newspapers are perhaps the most popular and well-used of these options. Most funeral homes in today's world offer their customers (some do so in a complimentary fashion) the opportunity to post their loved one's obituary online. These memorial postings can often be found to come up, immediately, in Google searches for the name of the deceased and, accordingly, they are the memorial option that is often seen the most – even ahead of the deceased's own social media site and those written by friends. These sites run by funeral homes vary in their content greatly. Some homes will offer special features only to those who pay an extra charge, but, in general, funeral home customers can expect that their funeral director will arrange for an on-line posting of the deceased obituary followed by a commentary section in which readers can contribute their thoughts about the deceased. Other homes will allow users – usually family members – to add special content and memorial notes at other times throughout the year, such as announcements of memorial celebrations planned for certain holidays and “thank yous” to people who contributed to an original memorial service and such. Newspapers, meanwhile, have begun offering similar services, only these are almost always offered for a fee – in addition to the charge that newspapers may have for publishing the original obituary. And, whereas funeral homes and cemeteries are wont to provide the online service for an indefinite amount of time, newspapers generally rent the memorial pages to the families for a set amount of time and remove the site from their servers when the account is not renewed by the family.

What Friends and Relatives Can Do On Their Own

And, finally, many friends and relatives have used their own resources to establish websites that are devoted solely to their loved one. Obtaining an internet domain such as JohnDoeMemorial.com can usually be done in a matter of minutes and for less than $10, and setting up a website on that domain can be done with equally little trouble and expense – in most cases. Armed with this the family is then able to post what they want about their deceased loved one, when they want. And they do not have to abide by any special rules that a social media site, funeral home or newspaper may have. And, further, they do not have to worry that their site may be taken down inexplicably and with little notice. So, for many families, this final option for memorializing a deceased relative via social media, is often considered the most practical and the most suitable for their memorial needs.

 
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