Social media has infiltrated its way into all aspects of our lives, including funerals and memorial services. But what kinds of social media use are acceptable during funerals and what are not? Here are some suggestions for proper funeral etiquette with a focus on social media use and what to prepare for when you’re planning a funeral service.
Posting Funeral Details on Social Media
Posting the date, time, and location of the funeral or memorial service on the deceased’s Facebook or Twitter account is a great way to get the information out to as many people as possible. However, it’s important to make sure that everyone close to the deceased have already been informed of the death through another avenue, whether through a phone call, an email, or in person. You don’t want them to find out the sad news from a status update.
Maintaining the Deceased Persons Social Media Accounts
When a person dies, his/her social media accounts live on. You can turn their Facebook page into a memorial by filling out a memorialization request form.You might need to provide some kind of proof of death, like a link to an obituary.
Turning a person’s Facebook page into a memorial helps others express their grief. Friends and family members from far away who are unable to come to the funeral will appreciate a place where they can express their condolences and share their memories. You’ll also be able to accept friends and delete unsavory comments. If you prefer to close the page, you can do that as well.
Other social media accounts, such as Twitter and Google, might not be as easy but there are different things that you can do. This article is a good place to start.
Communal Grief and the Funeral Selfie
Many people turn to social media to express their thoughts and feelings. They take selfies to remember the moment or to announce where they are. This habit can spill over to more delicate events, like funerals. The funeral selfie, a photo that is taken of oneself while at a funeral, is an emerging trend. It might seem distasteful to some, but it is often a way for the photo-taker to express his/her grief and to share it with the world.
Ringing Phones at a Funeral Service
Sometimes a gentle reminder is all that it takes to ensure a peaceful service without awkward interruptions by a ringing phone, or worse, a phone that plays a ringtone of a song. You could put up a sign that says something like, “We appreciate you putting your phone to silent so we can pay our respects to the departed.” Or you could arrange for the first person to speak to ask everyone to turn off their phones and give the guests a few minutes to do so.
Navigating Social Media and Technology in Today’s Funerals
Social media has a real place in today’s funeral planning and should be viewed as such. For instance, you can communicate with others through Facebook, Skype, or other social media platforms to plan funeral services and to discuss details. Funeral directors are saying that funeral planning is easier than ever thanks to social media and technology.
As social media becomes a bigger and bigger part of our lives, the dos and dont's of social media in funerals and memorial services will become more clear. For now, respect and empathy are the most important things to consider when determining whether or not a behavior is acceptable. This applies to funeral etiquette and social media.