Newspapers still publish obituaries, but today many families choose to make death announcements on social media. While some people may find this to be poor etiquette, a social media post actually isn’t that different than an obituary. In fact, social media posts have some distinct advantages such as being free, having the ability to include videos and having the ability to send the message directly to people who knew the deceased. It’s part of a growing trend as more people show their emotions and mourn publically rather than privately.
Like obituaries, there are best practices for posting death announcements on social media. If you plan to make an announcement here are some do and don’ts to keep in mind.
Do Give Yourself Time Before Posting
Emotions are heightened right after a loved one passes, even if it’s expected. It’s best to give yourself time to process things and respond in your own way. Waiting about 24 hours to post an announcement also gives you time for the next point.
Don’t Post an Announcement Before Talking to Close Family and Friends
Close friends and family members should be contacted before a social media announcement about the death is posted. Most people who were close to the deceased would much rather hear about the death from you or another family member rather than reading about it online. Even if it’s a text message that’s better than finding out through social media.
Do Consider Whether You Want to Allow Comments
One of the most important decisions, besides what to actually write in the announcement, is whether you want to allow comments. Some people don’t even realize turning comments off or limiting who can make comments is possible. If the announcement is going to be a public post for all to see it may be best to allow only friends to post comments.
Don’t Automatically Include Memorial Details
Traditionally, obituaries included details about the funeral and memorial services, which is part of the reason why families would publish them. Social media announcements are a little different. Their primary purpose is to make the death known to all acquaintances everywhere, including those that are too far away to attend related events. Plus, if the post is public people may end up attending that you didn’t intend on coming.
Do Prepare Readers
A death announcement can be startling to some people, especially if the death was unexpected or sudden. You’ll want to be mindful of people’s feelings and prepare the readers with a short intro letting them know you have bad news to share. This gives the readers a moment to mentally prepare themselves. Saying something as simple as “Friends and family, I’m deeply saddened to share the news of our loss” is all it takes to frame the conversation in a way that breaks the news as gently as possible.
A death announcement on social media doesn’t have to include all of the details surrounding the death of your loved one. Usually short and concise is the best route to take. Really all that’s needed is the name of the deceased, when they died and a link to an online memorial if one exists. If you’d like to include more details you can, but it’s not at all necessary.
Do Thank People for Their Condolences
As soon as the post is published you’ll likely start receiving messages of condolence. Some will come as replies to the post (if you opt to have replies) and others will be sent directly to you. You don’t have to respond immediately, but giving a simple thank you is a good way to connect with others during the difficult time.
Don’t Do a Public Announcement If the Deceased Was Private
Respecting the memory of a loved one means keeping the way they lived their life in mind when making announcements. If the deceased kept their social media accounts private, then refrain from making a public announcement and limit it to only the people they were friends with.
Before you make announcements about the death, you’ll want to arrange end-of-life services so you’re prepared to answer questions about what will happen next. If you have questions about direct cremation or would like to schedule a cremation the team at Direct Cremate can be reached by phone or text any day of the week.