The way we communicate has changed rapidly over the last few years – mobile phones have become a necessity, emails make global discussions rapid but nothing has changed communication quite like social media. It has allowed millions of people to connect digitally, new friendships have been formed, lost family has been found and friends have been reunited. These platforms are also used to pay tribute to people who have died. The most obvious of these is in the case of celebrities but many families also use social media as a way of remembering.
Demand for social media tributes is so great that Facebook have actually developed the idea further and now allows profiles to become tribute pages after someone dies. This has been welcomed by many families and has been used extensively. It not only allows people to say goodbye one last time it acts as a place where everyone can share memories. Having this kind of public outlet is useful in helping the bereaved move through the grieving process quicker.
Memorialised pages don’t just go away which means that family and friends can look back whenever they are missing their loved one. Friends can even pay tributes on their birthday years later. This page therefore acts as a long term support network for friends and family where they can remember together and share their grief. The role it plays in the grieving process cannot be understated.
These pages are generally public which means that people who may not be ‘friends’ but did know them can also share their memories and tributes. Having a place for acquaintances to express their grief is rare. Often they are not invited to funerals which means that the memorialised Facebook page is their only chance to really say goodbye.
Tribute posts are shared or retweeted which can further ensure that everyone they knew is aware of their passing and has a chance to say goodbye. This is a very personal way of reaching a lot of people and letting them know about the tragic loss. However, a message on social media is often much more personal and heartfelt than some other forms of group communication.
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