Social media eqituette after a bereavement

Posted: 15/05/2018

Social media etiquette after a bereavement

These days, as a result of the development of digital communications, we have new ways in which we can share our grief, if we wish to, through the means of social media, whether it be Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook it has become increasingly popular in recent years for people to share their loss over the death of a loved one. However, as it becomes more commonplace, that means that certain etiquette has developed as to what is appropriate, and what isn’t to share or post on social media. Perfect Funeral Plans explains more.

Avoiding tagging


Think carefully about whether or not it is worth tagging the deceased in a post. For those who are grieving, it could be extremely upsetting to see posts of the dead on their news feeds.

You may think tagging the deceased in a post that explains how much you miss them and what an amazing person they were is a nice tribute to the person who has passed but think carefully about doing so. Why? because it may be showing up on other close family members or friends news feeds too. If many people are doing exactly the same thing as you are, this can end up feeling overwhelming for those closest to the deceased seeing innumerable posts coming up on Facebook.

Keep questions offline

You should avoid inundating close family members and loved ones of the deceased with messages about questions regarding the death. It can make the bereavement so much more upsetting for them. If you are supposed to know further details, you will eventually find out in time.

Share memories privately

The above point isn’t to say that you can’t pay tribute to the person who has died at all through social media, but it is taking into careful consideration others when you do so. Perhaps you can send a private message to a member of their family to pay your respects, or share a memory, but make it known that they do not necessarily have to respond. It may be comforting for them to hear about a memory of the deceased, but if lots of people are messaging it could feel overwhelming and time-consuming to respond to all of them, even if the messages of condolence are appreciated.

Don’t share anything too personal

It is emotional time for everyone involved who has lost someone special to them, but try to avoid sharing your suffering via a post on facebook or twitter, a deeply personal message could end up ruffling feathers, or making people feel worse.

It is ok to unfriend


You may find unfriending the deceased an effective coping mechanism when it comes to dealing with grief.

Perhaps you have been on the receiving end of seeing multiple posts keep cropping up on Facebook tagging the person who has died, and you find it too painful to continuously see when you are trying to cope with your grief. It is important to remember that everyone deals with bereavement differently, and if you feel that unfriending or unfollowing the deceased so that you no longer see posts on your news feed helps you, then it is okay.

Consider carefully if you need to post

Are you certain that your post dedicated to the deceased isn’t over the top? To check, it may be worth asking someone who isn’t grieving if they think so before deciding to post it. You should always remember that there is no need to necessarily write a long detailed post about how close you were to the person who died and all the memories you have together. It is worth remembering if such a post could affect others who are in bereavement, and whether you need to share this particular memory or thoughts on the deceased is worth doing at the expense of others. There is nothing wrong with wanting to express your emotions, but it is finding the right balance and expressing yourself in a healthy manner.

Avoid taking photos

It was recently in the news that some social media users had taken so-called ‘funeral selfies’ ie, photos of themselves whilst at a funeral. It may be done with good intentions, perhaps as a way of showing their grief, but sharing these funeral selfies on Facebook or Instagram is for the majority of people, seen as distasteful and disrespectful. If you are concerned about upsetting others grieving, don’t take them.

Think about the messages you send

If someone has died, it isn’t always the case that their social media accounts are immediately closed down after they have passed. As a result, it means it is still possible for you to see their photos, like them and also write public or private messages to them online. Some people may find writing messages directly to the deceased an effective way of coping with grief, however, it may be worth thinking beforehand about who may see the message. Would it be better for you to send it publically or direct message them? You should also consider whether or not they have a digital legacy set up, as even if you send a message privately, it may be seen by the person who now has ownership over that person’s account.

Avoid posting sensitive personal information

One of the most important things when it comes to obeying appropriate social media etiquette after a bereavement comes down to avoiding posting sensitive personal information about the person who has died. Not only may it distress friends and family, but it could even end up becoming a security risk in the most unfortunate of cases. This is why you should also bear in mind your privacy settings, as it could mean that your friends are not the only people seeing your posts and statuses that you write.

To be on the safe side, it is generally recommended to not post anything like contact numbers or emails, addresses or the deceased’s date of birth, to avoid any potential security issues. After all, the last thing that you, or anyone close to the dead would want to happen is for the deceased to be a victim of fraud.