Should we be Social after we die

Last year a dear family friend passed away from a heart attack. This morning on my smart phone I received a Notification it was his birthday today, “Tap to write on his Timeline!”

I decided not to.

It made me wonder though, what is the protocol in these socially-connected times when you do pass away?

Social networks are quite a new thing for me – I believe he was my first Facebook friend to pass away. I was unsure how it worked. Then I found it was touching to see the messages of condolence free flowing onto his page, and for people to share their feelings and memories of such a loved person.

One particular tribute from a colleague of his, turned out to be a long-lost school friend of mine whom I reconnected with, and shared our own stories about him.

His Facebook profile still lives on today. It’s a nice time capsule of the thoughts and wishes of his friends and families, and a report on the funeral. I treasure the physical programme from funerals I attend, and keep them as a record. Perhaps the persisting social presence of those loved ones who pass away is the modern day equivalent where you don’t attend the funeral.

Facebook has several set Relationship statuses for people to use. I’ve seen people evolve from Single, to In a Relationship, to Married. And sadly the opposite direction from Married, to It’s Complicated, and back to being Married or Single again.

But what to do about the “living” status of your (online) presence?

It’d be too late for us to update our own status when we’ve left this mortal coil. So my wife and I agreed we’d hack each others Facebook profile to make the change, and inform our Friends in the present condition.

I recognise this is truly a First World Problem. And it’s an unimportant one at that. But I do find it interesting to ponder.

In this digital connected age, our physical existence has an important relationship with our virtual existence. For completeness and ongoing relevance, we may need greater consideration on the impact of one on the other.

For the record, #iamstillhere ..