Have you ever reached out on Facebook or Twitter to a loved one or friend who has passed away? You know, posted something like, “RIP friend. You were the best (at whatever it is you did), and I’ll miss you.” I’m often perplexed at why people write these kinds of posts in a virtual environment where only the living can see it.
As a social media consultant, it is my job to help people learn how to leverage the power of social sites for their businesses or organizations. For people who just want to have a “social presence,” I encourage them to set up a personal profile and use it as a way to engage with people they know and interact with brands they appreciate. However, after five years of developing a career for myself in this digital environment, I see that people have taken the technology to lengths beyond what it was originally intended for.
The term “like” has been tainted, as people accept friend requests from those they don’t know, let alone like. In all transparency, I too have been guilty of that. Instead of making a phone call — remember that? — writing a personal note or paying a visit, they’re just “liking” or commenting on posts from people who’ve taken ill or about those who’ve passed away. In many cases, individuals are sharing their own personal stories of grief with a world of uncertainty rather than with those who can really be of support.
Though social media has many valuable benefits, as far as I know it doesn’t extend beyond our computers, let alone heaven. I fear that it may replace what’s really important: listening to a live voice, penning a heart-warming letter, visiting the sick or remembering a loved one through prayer and good deeds. What do you think?