Death and Social Media

 

Several years back I was perusing Facebook and saw off to the side where one of my friends had liked something. There were two problems with it. The first was that it was a shaving product and my friend had had a beard for decades. The second problem was that my friend had died the month before. “Great,” I thought, “he comes back as a zombie and decides to go clean-shaven.”

I was reminded of this when someone just linked over to Twitter. I looked at the tweet in question and then started perusing my oft-neglected Twitter feed. I noticed that Don Rickles had posted on May 4 about his dog. I thought, “Wait a minute. What is he doing posting? Didn’t he die last year? Did some hockey puck bury his phone and a charger with him?”

Someone else I know on Facebook has a deceased spouse as a prominent contact on their friends list on their main page. The individual is since remarried and the new spouse is also prominently featured. It has been more than four years. Why have the old page still up? Why have it so prominently featured? I can understand if it’s a tribute that one checks every once in a while, but such a prominent display? How does that make the current spouse feel?

Another friend of mine died. For a month or so, the family used her Facebook page as a memorial tribute, and then they started a page that was very specifically for that purpose. On the anniversary of her death, various people tend to post in memory of her life. But at least she isn’t posting anything herself. Unlike Don Rickles.

What do you think should be done with social media accounts in the event of death?

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  1. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Don’t know, never had a social media account and never will.

    • #1
  2. Nick H Coolidge
    Nick H
    @NickH

    I wonder if it really was Don Rickles or just a bot all along. Or perhaps it really was him and he just had a lot of tweets scheduled in advance? Or if his account was hacked in the last year?

    In general I like the idea of accounts being memorial sites for people after they pass away. FB works better for that than Twitter though.

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Don’t know, never had a social media account and never will.

    Psst! Ricochet is a form of social media.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Nick H (View Comment):
    I wonder if it really was Don Rickles or just a bot all along. Or perhaps it really was him and he just had a lot of tweets scheduled in advance? Or if his account was hacked in the last year?

    I’m pretty sure from other recent tweets, such as on the anniversary of his death, that it is his wife.

    • #4
  5. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Unless you know someone’s password, how could you do anything with the FB page of someone deceased?

    I heard recently that every kid should have a will so that loved ones can get access to their social media accts.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Unless you know someone’s password, how could you do anything with the FB page of someone deceased?

    I heard recently that every kid should have a will so that loved ones can get access to their social media accts.

    Well, in most of these cases, someone obviously did have access, since they were doing things with the accounts afterwards. In the case of the person and lost spouse, the spouse was dying for a few years, and I am sure shared the passwords. I have not checked the page of the deceased to see what was or was not posted.

    And yes, everyone should have a way that some designee can go into their accounts after death to inform people and to close them down. If I died tomorrow, none of you are likely to see the obit in the local paper, since you generally are not local. So, someone has to announce it for you to know, or someday I’ll just stop posting and then go inactive. We have known about some we have lost here through friends or spouses, but for those of us whose spouse does not Ricochet, there needs to be another plan. That goes doubly for some of us who seem to look death in the eye a few times per year.

    • #6
  7. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Yeah, I have had  couple of friends and a brother-in-law of who died and whose accounts “lived on” for a while afterward. The family in one case took everything down very quickly. In the other two cases the pages were converted to memorial pages and are still available, last  time I checked. 

    • #7
  8. JoePas Inactive
    JoePas
    @JoePas

    Google offers an emergency account recovery plan. If your account is inactive for a predetermined amount of time, Google will email a trusted contact with your account information so they can download your data and shut the account down. That’s the best solution I’ve seen. 

    • #8
  9. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    It would be best be handled in advance.  Sort of an “Advanced directive for Social Media.”

    What bothers me the most is when I am prompted to wish a deceased friend happy birthday every year.

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Clavius (View Comment):
    What bothers me the most is when I am prompted to wish a deceased friend happy birthday every year.

    Yes. That is disconcerting.

    • #10
  11. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Our daughter works for Facebook and encouraged us to set up a “legacy contact” to close our accounts or make them into “memorials” after death.

    • #11
  12. Marythefifth Member
    Marythefifth
    @Marythefifth

    Within FB settings, I assigned my niece as the closer of my account upon my death, but that was 2-3 years ago and who knows if that feature is still available.

    Edited to say, that setting is still there. How about that!

    • #12
  13. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Marythefifth (View Comment):
    Edited to say, that setting is still there. How about that!

    So, it can work if someone uses the features.

    • #13
  14. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    I follow Reverend Fulton Sheen on Facebook. Quotes from his sermons and books are a welcome addition to pictures and jokes from associates. 

    Now that I think of it, I should find Chesterton and a Sowell fanpage to follow. I bet Sowell himself avoids Facebook like the plague, but all will be assimilated.

    • #14
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    I bet Sowell himself avoids Facebook like the plague, but all will be assimilated.

    Well, he is on Twitter.

    • #15
  16. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Arahant (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Don’t know, never had a social media account and never will.

    Psst! Ricochet is a form of social media.

    Oh dang. 

    • #16
  17. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Clavius (View Comment):

    It would be best be handled in advance. Sort of an “Advanced directive for Social Media.”

    What bothers me the most is when I am prompted to wish a deceased friend happy birthday every year.

    LinkedIn kept suggesting for almost 2 years after she died that I connect with a woman who worked for me until her death. (When I was employed at a company I generally did not “connect” on LinkedIn with people who were in my reporting chain.)

    • #17
  18. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    Arahant:

    What do you think should be done with social media accounts in the event of death?

    They could always be given to Easter European troll or bot farms to help swing American elections. Or maybe to the Bilderberg Group. Or the club of Rome. Or to….darn! Out of tin foil again! Oh well… Back to the grocery store.

    <sarcasm off>

    <cynicism always on>

    • #18
  19. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    I was getting messages on email from a dead friend for a long time after death….It was cruel.   I mean, it happens with living people too; the msg sez it’s from a person you know but it isn’t.   Still the first few times goin”hear from” a dead friend, well, it’s a frisson….

    • #19
  20. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Arahant: Didn’t he die last year? Did some hockey puck bury his phone and a charger with him?”

    Ha! I can clearly hear Rickles delivering that line.

    • #20
  21. Kim K. Inactive
    Kim K.
    @KimK

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):
    What bothers me the most is when I am prompted to wish a deceased friend happy birthday every year.

    Yes. That is disconcerting.

    My aunt died a few years ago and each year I’m reminded it’s her birthday. What really bugs me are the people who wish her a Happy Birthday. What kind of “friend” doesn’t know you’ve been dead for 4 years??? Oh yeah, Facebook “friends.”

    This is the reason my FB friend list is very limited – only close relatives.

    • #21
  22. Fredösphere Inactive
    Fredösphere
    @Fredosphere

    And then there are those who spend a year dead for tax purposes.

     

    • #22
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    I’ve arranged to leave my avatar to science. 

    • #23
  24. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Don Rickles is the greatest human being that ever lived. 

    • #24
  25. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Don Rickles last interview. 2 minutes. 

    • #25

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