In today’s day and age, it can be difficult to navigate the unwritten rules of social media. And when it comes to sharing news about the death of a loved one, these waters become extra murky. Should you post about the death? If so, when? What details are appropriate to include – and leave out? Will you offend any family members or friends by acknowledging the death online? How will loved ones who are not on social media respond to certain information appearing on a public forum?
While the decision about whether or not to post is ultimately yours, our staff has some questions to ask based on our years serving families in the Indianapolis area.
- Are you an immediate family member?
If the loved one was a member of your immediate family, take the time to start processing privately before you begin sharing about it publicly. With our world existing more and more online, it can often feel like a knee-jerk reaction to post big news on social media right away. It’s also important to consider if everyone has been notified before you spread the word. Learning about a loved one’s death on social media can be incredibly painful. If you do end up wanting to post, there is no shame in waiting until you feel you are ready.
- Are you a close friend of the family?
If you are not an immediate family member of the loved one, ask yourself if you are close to their family. Never post about a loved one before their family has acknowledged the death themselves or given you permission to do so. Give the family space and time to grieve privately before you make a post regarding the loss.
- What are your intentions?
Before you post, ask yourself: “Why am I posting this?” Do you want to commemorate a loved one’s life? Are you seeking support? It’s natural to want to post something so that your network is instantly aware and can offer their condolences. Be cautious if you know that posting may cause further pain or discomfort for the family of the loved one.
- How should you post?
If you do choose to post, think about how you want your post to read for others. You might want to honor your loved one by speaking kind words about their life or sharing a story about them. Avoid mentioning personal details your loved one or family may not want shared in a public space. Social media can also be a great tool to spread information about a funeral or memorial service, as long as the family is okay with it being shared.
These are just a few tips for managing social media after the death of a loved one. If it doesn’t feel right to post, it’s probably best to refrain. If it feels right to post, do so in a respectful way. Think about what your loved one would have wanted and try to act accordingly to honor and celebrate their life. If you aren’t sure how to cope with your grief, feel free to contact us any time. At St. Pierre Family Funeral & Cremation Services, we are always here to support our neighbors in the Indianapolis area any way we can.