There’s a plethora of digital services now available for consumers where they can share messages and information with their next of kin, friends and family after they die. For instance, Facebook based offerings such as Dead Social and If I Die allow users to share pre-recorded and approved goodbye messages to their social networks on Facebook and Twitter. Other digital estate planning services also offer the option to send final notes or messages as part of their portfolio.
While there’s no research that I’m aware of to show how this form of communication impacts the way in which we grieve, anecdotal evidence often shows that people are shocked when seeing images or reminders concerning their dead friends within social media communities.
For those considering a post-mortem social media strategy, consider your audience – the friends, family, colleagues, lovers left behind who will analysis and ponder over your messages as they come to terms with their loss.
Three things to think about when planning digital afterlife messages
- When people are grieving, everything has the potential to be a sharp reminder of a memory, thought, experience or regret about someone they will never see, hear, touch or talk with again. What is the impact to your community if you schedule a series of messages over a period of time? Are the messages comforting or are there people for whom this might be distressing? Understanding the likely reaction of your audience will help you determine how you deliver your messages and on what platform.
- Be clear in what you want to say. Ambiguous, unconsidered messages could be misinterpreted or cause unintended responses such as hurt or confusion. There’s no opportunity for recipients to later clarify your meaning.
- If you’re planning a series of messages on an ongoing basis, how will they relate and be relevant to the experiences your friends and family are going through?
What are your thoughts on post-mortem message leaving? Drop your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.