It has been one hell of a week+ for me emotionally: four people whose lives have touched mine in various ways died in the space of ten days. Three of those used social media (mostly Twitter and Facebook), and that is how most of their friends have learned of their passing – and we learned of the fourth via the mailing list of a group of which he was a part.
It would take a much longer series of posts than I currently have the time or energy to compose to cover all of the ways social media users and their friends/family need to consider handling their digital assets and communities when the user dies. But for now I will note some specific technical tips for when (not if, increasingly) you find yourself mourning the loss of a loved one and are left with how to communicate about their departure with their social media friends.
[Note: I originally planned to cover both Twitter and Facebook in this article, but it’s already lengthy about Twitter so I will do a Part 2 about Facebook later]
Hashtags – Not What’s For Dinner
Before getting into the specifics of Twitter, Facebook, etc. let’s look at a tool that is useful on both those services, as well as Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, YouTube and more: hashtags
Twitter just announced that they will now allow advertisers to target ads to you based on information about you from places other than Twitter, such as what you do on other websites and with personal email addresses.
If you don’t like the sound of that, here’s how to opt out:
You probably think of yourself as a decent human being who doesn’t go around pissing off your friends. But because we are all human beings it is inevitable that you will make some assumption that is not true, or not shared by the other person, or just not think something through from the other’s perspective and thus come across as insensitive or worse.
Here are a few things to consider before, and after, you put your foot in your mouth in an online situation: