MyFoxChicago recently ran a story on deceased loved ones “living on” (so-to-speak) through active Facebook profiles. As I did more research on the topic, I began to find it a bit morbid, and even a tad creepy. Facebook does allow you to “memorialize” the decedent’s profile by providing them with some details and filling out a form confirming their death, which I suppose could be seen as a better alternative. I really can’t imagine that the first thing a grieving widow thinks to do is to jump online and let Zuck and the crew know about it, but everyone grieves differently.
By far, the strangest behavior I feel are those families that keep the page active for years afterward complete with someone else logging in, posting updates, and accepting friend requests. Who is making friend requests to someone they know is dead? Facebook to me has always seemed a platform of connecting and sharing, and neither of these would seem to be something your average dead person would longer have need for, no matter their religious affiliation. It’s of no benefit to the deceased, and I don’t see how it helps the living. What’s next, Foursquare checkins for them at the graveyard?
Don’t get me wrong, it is a terrible thing when anyone dies, and those most important to us should be remembered. I’d even go as far as saying that creating a Facebook page called “we will always miss you, John/Jane Smith” or something of the sort would be a great tribute on Facebook. But keeping their standard friend profile, subjecting a deceased loved one to Farmville and online quiz requests just seems in poor taste.