Like it or loathe it, social media is a significant part of modern life – and it can also be a substantial element in death and bereavement. In today’s increasingly digital world, where we share all of our opinions and feelings online, it makes sense that social media will also be a tool we turn to when we experience grief and mourning. Opinions differ on whether the internet is a safe and healthy place to grieve, but many people find comfort in viewing a deceased relative’s profile or receiving digital messages of support when a loved one passes away.
The stages of grief
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help people reach their loved ones during bereavement. Although someone has departed physically, they may not have departed the digital world and their social profiles can become a memorial and celebrate their life. It can help people reminisce of the good times shared together, and all of their friends and family can post well wishes – providing a community of support for the immediate family.
The stages of grief and loss are known to be denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These steps of mourning were proposed back in 1969, and in today’s world, we may need to consider adding another stage of grief which deals with the issue of social media. According to a survey by the Digital Legacy Association, almost 75% of people said that the ability to view a loved one’s profile after their death held some level of importance.
Not only can social media contribute to the grieving process for loved ones, but it also helps millions of people when a popular well-known figure perishes. Many fans feel like they know their favourite popstar or TV personality, so it can be really upsetting for people all over the world when a celebrity passes away. The digital legacy a celebrity leaves behind, and the outpouring of love and support from the fans on Twitter and Facebook can help people come to terms with the passing.
For example, when a celebrity passes it is very common for them to start trending on Twitter, with users posting RIP messages of tweeting support to friends and family members. When we don’t know how to respond to tragedy, often the first place we turn to is social media.
Your digital legacy
Have you thought about what will happen to your social media profiles when the time comes? You will leave behind a digital legacy, and if you choose to you could give them something to remember you by – Take a look at one of our tutorial videos.
With the help of apps like Swonsong, you can prepare a message for your social media followers as a final goodbye and it will be posted after your death.
Download the app to find out more. iTunes Download