Yes, even dead people on Facebook are more popular than I am. Sigh.
For users of the world’s most popular social media Web site, Facebook offers a way to leave the ultimate status update.
Already, Facebook has become a central hub for news that a person has died with their home page functioning as an ad hoc trading post for information about the funeral and gathering place for condolence notes.
After that initial phase, relatives can ask Facebook to place the dead person’s page into a “Memorial State” that limits use to only certain friends and family members. To trigger that process, family members typically must send Facebook a newspaper clipping about the person’s death, or an official death notice from a local government.
(Facebook launched the feature after the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, when students flocked to each other’s pages to make comments.)
In the next few months, John McQueen expects his funeral home will add more ongoing digital features, including e-mail reminders that customers can set up for distribution on key dates.
“This would come after you visited a person’s online profile,” McQueen said. “It would auto-send you notification that this person’s birthday is coming up next week, so you might want to drop his wife a card or call. That could go on indefinitely.”
Funeral directors expect more baby boomers will create a vibrant online life after death.
“We’re all watching the Baby Boomers starting to ask what it’s going to be like when they die,” said Alan Creedy, a Raleigh, N.C. consultant to the funeral industry. “Boomers are looking at the funeral as a form of self expression.”