Dr. Fogg & Sir Daniel presents..

Till Death Do Us Part?

In Daniels articles on December 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm

ImageToday we live in an era where we share our lives on social media sites as facebook and myspace,  we can keep in touch with family and friends, have conversations (and develop friendships) with total strangers, all without having to leave our home..   We can view pictures of people as they get older and change hair color or go to events, we can follow along as they face trials in their lives and even make little comments to let them know we are still around..  Social Media has really changed the way the world communicates, much in the same way the telephone did for our grandparents and their parents.   Our lives are now much more open to the world..

but what about our deaths?  It is estimated that 30 million people have a facebook account that has out-lived them..  Is it a good thing to be reminded of someone’s death long after they have passed?   facebooks policy is that if a close family member sends them proof of that someone has died (obituary or death certificate) than they have one of two choices.. they can set up a memorial page or they can delete the account.

A memorial page provides access only to friends of the deceased, allows them to leave tributes and blocks things such as the “recommend friends” feature from having their name show up..  This page is much smaller than a normal profile and it does hide some sensitive info.

A year ago my oldest sister died,  She was the first person to welcome me to facebook and I have private messages back and forth to her, from a few months earlier, where she talked about the day she would die.  Reading these messages fools my mind into believing she is still alive but deep inside I know better..  Her facebook page still exists and every so often members of my family write messages to her..  not that we feel she will be able to read them  but because it helps us deal with her loss..  I have not left a message on her page since she died because I have not found the right words but it warms my heart to read others who miss her as much as I do..

Not everyone thinks leaving a facebook account open is a good idea..  one man, who goes by the name “damianmann” wrote “Joining Facebook means you’ll never die. Your self respect and dignity might take a hit. But, it’ll be there forever…..for everyone to comment on. Creepy. VERY creepy.”   in agreement with him, a lady named Kathye wrote “I find it disturbing when I google a person who has passed away and Facebook still has his account.”

Then there is stories like the one told by Lewis Bartholomew, who wrote “Facebook can be a double edged sword. In 2011 my son went through some serious issues. In a phone call to me while attempting suicide I used facebook to post 911 requests on his, his fiancee and my facebook profiles to get help to him several hundred miles away. We succeeded that time. However, eventually my son was successful in his attempt and keeping his FB account was something of a dilemma. Some of his friends knew how he died, others didn’t know he had passed and others were in between.”

I recall that I myself learned this last year about a friends sudden death via facebook, and I again was at a loss for words for his family and loved ones but at least via facebook they knew how big of an impact he had on his friends.

My thoughts are facebook provides a wonderful way to help people to share their grief together and helps keep alive the life on the person who died.  But I don’t know about 50 years from now when facebook will be a 3 billion plus cemetery of profiles of people who are not living anymore..  perhaps there should be a way that after a certain amount of time, these profiles are, if not deleted, at least linked to another site where they can be put to rest with their creators..

~ Daniel


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