Since FletcherPR manages social media for a number of clients that are interested in marketing to women, I spend quite a bit of time on Facebook. In the past year I’ve lost four Facebook friends (two from high school, one from college, and most recently a client friend), to untimely deaths. If it weren’t for Facebook I probably wouldn’t have known that three out of four had even passed away. But an eerie thing happens when someone in the family with apparent access to the deceased’s account and the dead person continues to show up in my Facebook feed. I understand there is a grief process, but when does grieving on Facebook cross the line and become creepy?
This got me wondering about Facebook’s policy on the profiles of those who have passed away, and it turns out there is a lot of good information out there. How To Manage Your Online Profile When You're Dead is an informative guide on family options when a person passes away. It turns out that you can submit a memorialization request to keep the page up, but remove it from sidebars, timelines and friend suggestions. By memorializing the wall, friends and family can post memories, continue to view photos and more or less visit a deceased loved one in cyberspace. As our lives and businesses become increasingly reliant on social media for human interaction, Facebook profiles have taken on a life (and death) of their own.
What are your thoughts on life and death on Facebook?