It’s World Social Media Day (#SMDay) – a day to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. As funeral service professionals, we use social media as a ways and means of communicating with families, our community, and colleagues from around the world.
The use of social media and other computer-based software in our field and those related to death, dying and bereavement, even has its own term: thanatechnology. Dr. Carla Sofka has lead the research in this field, exploring how different age groups use social media for grief support.
Individuals can access a wealth of information from various websites and channels, including support for engaging in end-of-life care discussions, how to preplan a funeral, finding readings for both religious and non-secular services, ordering flowers as an expression of sympathy, researching the charities that were meaningful to the deceased, and sending online condolences to a grieving family.
Technology has reduced the size of our globe, as family members can participate in services via Skype, FaceTime or other technology. It permits real-time engagement with family and friends who are also grieving.
Social media and continuing bonds
Social media profiles of the deceased also provide a way to sustain an ongoing bond. The deceased’s Facebook page can serve as an online memorial, where family and friends can remember birthdays, the anniversary of the death, everyday moments and receive support from one another.
As professionals, we also use social media to connect with colleagues and organizations in our vocation. We engage in online programs as a path towards licensure in the funeral profession, as well as webinars for continuing education.
We acknowledge the power of social media as a way to connect with each of you. We also acknowledge the need for personal, face-to-face interaction and always encourage you to visit our funeral home and meet our staff.
Some helpful advice to navigate social media following a death.
On this Social Media Day, think of all the ways you’ve used apps and websites in your exploration of death, dying and bereavement.