How Social Media Has Changed How We Express Sympathy

There is an old Swedish proverb that says, “A joy shared is a double joy. A burden shared is half a burden.” No one knows this better than someone who has walked side by side with a friend who has experienced a loss. Something happens when you share your grief with someone else – while it doesn’t make it go away, it certainly can lighten the load.

Some of the most traditional ways of sharing the burden of a loss with someone you love is through expressing verbal or written condolences, sending flowers, or helping with other practical needs like child care, meals, housework, or funeral planning details.

At Krause Funeral Home, we have seen firsthand how the surge in social media over the past few decades has changed the way friends and family members express sympathy to one another and communicate about a loss.

We offer families we serve the ability to create an online tribute right on our website. People can upload photos, express condolences, light a candle, send flowers, and more. One other feature is the ability to share the obituary to an individual social media page. We see so many families taking advantage of this feature! Not only does it allow them to share service or visitation information with many people at once, it gives them the opportunity to publicly honor their loved one. As the obituary is posted, you see reactions and comments of love and sympathy pouring in from all corners of the globe. It’s a wonderful way for the family to draw support from their virtual community.

Another way families use social media to honor their loved one is by posting photos of the service or reception online. Many times, families choose to highlypersonalize the service with displays, music, and other touches that communicate their loved one’s personality and accomplishments. They often take photos and videos of these elements, sharing them to social media. It gives them the ability to express their love and share the moment with those unable to attend.

As with anything involving social media, there are cautions to make:

1.) If you hear of a death in your extended family or circle of friends, do not post anything about it on social media until you see a member of the immediate family announce it personally. If you’re not friends with the immediate family on Facebook, it’s best not to share until you know the funeral service has been announced. The last thing any of us would want would be for someone close to the deceased to learn first of the death via social media.

2.) If you are a member of the immediate family, we recommend making a list of all the people you want to be sure to tell personally about the loss. Only until you’ve scratched off every name on that list, should you share about the loss and post service information on social media.

3.) If you attend a funeral at Krause Funeral Home, it’s perfectly fine to check into our Facebook page, let others know you’re attending the service, and express sympathy to the family. We do not recommend sharing any photos or videos of a service, burial, or reception, unless you’ve received the family’s blessing.

4.) Believe it or not, funeral selfies are becoming a huge fad. While you have to use your best judgment, we typically recommend against this. Consider instead sharing your favorite photo with the person you lost – something that will celebrate their contribution to your world.

Just as with so many other aspects of life, social media can be a wonderful vehicle for expressing love to your circle of friends, if used responsibly. As always, think before you post!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *