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Ways to Use Social Media to Remember the Memory of Loved Ones

August 15th, 2023

When someone you care about passes on, there’s never a perfect way to share the news with friends and family, or to keep them informed about the subsequent funeral/services being planned. While the loss of someone loved dearly was once shared via middle-of-the-night phone calls or printed newspaper obituaries, today’s media outlets have evolved dramatically over the years. Social media, including Facebook and Instagram, as well as memorial websites and personal blogs, have made sharing news with a large network of family, friends and acquaintances easier, more efficient and faster.

Even when sadly, it’s time to share the news that no one wants to hear.

What are the best ways to harness the power of social media when it comes to honoring a lost loved one? Here are some tips for letting others know when a mutual friend or family member has passed, providing information on services being planned and, most of all, celebrating their memory with those who cared about them most.

Use Their Preferred Social Media Platforms

Did your departed loved one use social media? If so, what was their favorite platform? If they were primarily active on Facebook, for example, that’s probably the best way to let those closest to them know of their death. Write a thoughtful post that honors their memory, then tag them so that those on their “friend” list will be alerted. In your post, let everyone know who they can reach out to for additional details, or to offer their condolences and support.

A word of caution: NEVER share the news of someone’s passing online until you are 100% sure that those closest to them have already been informed. Immediate family members like spouses, children and parents, and the closest of friends, should always hear this news in person or with a private phone call before any information is shared on social media. And avoid sharing private end-of-life details, like medical information or photos, unless you have explicit permission/directives from the now-deceased.

Memorial Accounts

Some social media platforms have the option to turn a deceased user’s account into a memorial account. This creates an online space for friends and family to gather and share memories while protecting the stories and photos previously shared. Following a loss, a close friend or family member must contact the social media platform directly to request that an account be memorialized. Or, prior to their death, the now departed must have chosen a memorial account option with a legacy contact as part of their end-of-life planning process. Either way, the word “Remembering” will appear before a lost loved one’s name, and their account will turn into a virtual space where loved ones can post memories, share stories and unite in grief.

If the departed wasn’t on social media, or if the preference is to delete the social media account of someone no longer with you, another option is to create a new account dedicated to their memory. Invite friends and family to join the page, where they can easily share photos and memories, and stay up-to-day on service details and more.

Memorial Websites

Not interested in being on social media? Not a problem. Memorial websites are an online alternative that offers many of the same benefits as social media platforms but with their own unique URL – no signing up for Facebook or Instagram required. There are many digital platforms that allow turnkey options for creating an online memorial website. Most offer templated formats with unique designs and features to choose from and may be free or have fee options depending on individual needs. As with social media pages, custom memorial websites create an online presence where friends and family can gather virtually after a loss, and can be used to share photos, an obituary, funeral/service details and more. Some sites even allow visitors to leave virtual flowers and lights, and play favorite songs in memory of a loved one.

Start a Fundraiser

Many who are grieving experience a feeling of helpless following the death of a friend or family member. The desire to give and help is real, but knowing exactly what to do can be challenging. As an alternative to flowers and casseroles, some choose to create an online fundraiser in the name of their lost loved one. Using only trusted, respected online platforms, you can invite friends and family to donate any amount to help defray medical or funeral expenses or provide a helping hand to surviving family members as they adjust to their new normal. Or you could raise money to support a nonprofit organization, an alma mater or a cause the departed was particularly passionate about, like raising awareness about Type 1 diabetes or contributing to a local animal rescue organization.

Pay Tribute Virtually

One of the many benefits of technology is its ability to bring so many together from every corner of the globe. Today, there are many well-known tech companies that make hosting virtual events in honor of a loved one affordable, convenient and seamless. Since everyone can attend regardless of geography, financial circumstances or health issues, celebrating a lost loved one has never been so accessible. Simply send a link to livestream the funeral, memorial service or celebration of life. Or gather friends and family virtually to raise a toast on a loved one’s birthday, or to mark an anniversary since their passing.

Honoring a lost loved one has always been a unique and deeply personal experience. In today’s technological age, social media is expanding these opportunities in new and touching ways. Your loved one may be physically gone, but their memory will continue to live on in so many poignant ways.