How to talk about a death on Social Media
As the world’s dependence on social media grows, as does the need to address personal and often difficult situations on social media platforms - one of the most difficult of all being death.
As a society we are largely still uncomfortable talking about death. If you’ve lost a loved one, or know someone who has, it’s often hard to address this in person - let alone on social media. We’ve put together some notes below to help you find the right words to say.
Social Media etiquette after the death of a loved one
Social media etiquette after the death of a loved one depends on the circumstances surrounding their death, and their relationship to you.
If the deceased is close to you and a member of your family, it is completely up to you how you choose to remember them online. This could come in the form of a fitting online tribute, invites to the funeral service or letting family and friends know you’re hosting a personalised memorial after the funeral, and invite them to attend.
If you’ve found out someone close to you, but not related to you, has passed away it is important to respect the families wishes before posting anything on social media. If they don’t post anything, you shouldn’t either. You never know, aunts and uncles may not yet have been informed and you wouldn’t want to be the person to announce the news. In this instance a private message to the family could be appropriate, but make them aware they’re under no obligation to reply.
If the family decide to announce the death of a loved one across social media, they’re most likely aware that this will lead to comments, shares and messages of condolence. We’ve put together a list of the right words to say.
Choosing the right words to say
You should always take a moment to think about what you’re going to say before you write anything, as messages to family should be short and succinct, articulating your sadness for their loss. Amid sadness it can be easy to get carried away and make spelling mistakes.
Some of the most common expressions used online are:
“I’m sorry for your loss”
“Thinking of you and your family”
“Sending you all our love”
“You are in our thoughts and prayers”
“He/she will be dearly missed”
“If there is anything I can do to make this easier, please let me know”
If you’re thinking about going into more detail, shy away from sharing this publically and instead choose to private message the family. It could bring them comfort and it will look more personal to the family.
Steer away from using phrases like the below. They might sound comforting but could bring distressed to their loved ones:
“You’ll feel better in time”
“They are in a better place now”
“I know how you feel”
“Everyone feels the same”
Likewise, when messaging a bereaved family, try not to talk too much about your own experiences for now. In time it may bring comfort, but it could be too much too soon.
Creating a digital memorial
If a family member has passed away, creating a digital memorial could be a fitting tribute. Digital memorials allow friends and family to post memories and wishes, as well as allowing you to give out details of the funeral too.
Sharing memories of loved ones on social media can help you through the grieving process, but ultimately sharing stories and remembering your loved ones surrounded by the people you love will help keep their memory alive.
If you need to speak to someone other than family and friends, we offer our GriefChat service, where you can talk to a member of the professional GriefChat team in confidence.
Simplicity Cremations is a trading style of Dignity Funerals Ltd, bringing you high quality funerals at affordable prices. To speak to our team about how we could help you, call 0800 484 0513.
We are a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.