How often have you found out about the loss of a friend via social media, especially Facebook? For those who are active on this platform, there are some guidelines that may be helpful in determining the right way to handle posts about someone's passing. Author Kimberly Hiss, in an article for Reader's Digest, offered 11 Etiquette Rules for Dealing with Death on Social Media. Our next two blogs will summarize these suggestions.
Rule #1: There are no set ways to deal with death on social media. There is no right way, or wrong way to post about the passing of a loved one. It is truly a personal choice of the family who is grieving. So, whether or not you agree with the way the family is managing the loss on social media, it is best to take your cue from them. Whether or not you choose to engage on social media is your choice.
Rule #2: Let the closest loved ones post first. When you hear the news of someone's death, the instant reaction is often to tell others who share the acquaintance. But best to hold back on that reaction and let the family members make the decision as to if, when and how they want to announce the passing of their loved ones. They should be the ones to determine what information is shared and what social media platforms used.
Rule #3: A Helpful Way to Streamline Logistics. Once the death has been announced, social media has the power to reach people across the world. It can be an immensely useful tool to spread the word about funeral or memorial services, charitable donations or details on the passing. If you choose to share the information, be cognizant of your audience.
Rule #4: Get Your Facts Straight. Before you comment or share information, it is best to do your due diligence and check your sources. If the post has come directly from the family, your information should be accurate, but it you are sharing someone else's post, it is probably best to fact check by visiting the initial source page or feed to ensure you have all the right details.
Rule #5: Be Careful With Those Details. Be sure not to create your own story or interpretation of someone else's information. If there are details are left out about the death, that was probably intended. It isn't your place to provide information that the family chose not to include. Always let the family or core group surrounding the loss provide the details.
Part two of this series will post on September 19th.