Why people express their grief online
According to a study, most people mourn online as a way to maintain a relationship with the deceased. Another reason why people grieve on social media is to connect with a larger group of people who experienced a similar loss. Meanwhile, others grieve online simply for the public nature of it. Experts say that one of the most negative aspects of mourning on social media is that some users create a post about the deceased to cause others to either show them sympathy or think more highly of them. While using social media is an accepted way to cope with death, either of a family member or of a friend, there are things that you need to be aware of before you post a message for everyone to see.
Consider your relationship with the newly deceased before you post anything
Before going online, think about your relationship with the newly deceased. Are you a close friend, an acquaintance, or a cousin twice removed? There is such a thing called the hierarchy of grief, so you want to be sensitive and considerate during this difficult time. For instance, if the person is married, the spouse should be the one to post about the death first. It does not matter if you learned about the death first—you should let the spouse or the partner take the lead in this matter. If your deceased friend is young or single, then the immediate family should post first.
Never post pictures from the funeral
As a sign of respect for the family of the deceased, you should never post pictures of the funeral, nor should you post a “funeral selfie.” In addition, it would be a good idea not to post any updates about the wake or funeral on social media. The immediate family should be the one to announce the time and place of the funeral, church services, or any other gatherings to honor the departed online.
Think about your audience
The deceased person’s social media account should not be inundated with inappropriate posts that would offend family members. For instance, if you were the ex-boyfriend of the deceased, you should not post old love letters or pictures on her page. Her husband and children will not appreciate it and the posts can make them feel worse.
Death is one of the most painful areas of life, and social media users should be aware of how posts can affect the living. While you can certainly mourn your friend or loved one, you should always make it a habit to think before you post anything as a sign of respect to immediate family members.