Author Topic: Announcing a death on FB?  (Read 3298 times)

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Fragglerocker

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Announcing a death on FB?
« on: March 13, 2013, 12:40:18 PM »
I'm not usually on this sub-board so forgive me if this has been discussed ad nauseum. 

After a long battle with brain cancer, a friend of mine from church passed away Monday night.  Tuesday during the day, my father texted me to let me know the news.  He was fairly close to her and her husband, and was a source of support to them during their battle as my own mom passed away two and a half years ago from cancer also.  It was not unexpected to me that she passed as I followed the medical updates on her on CaringBridge, and knew she'd been moved to hospice care at home and her daughter and new baby granddaughter were coming in for what was likely to be her last visit.

Still, it bothered me greatly to see on Facebook, about an hour after my dad contacted me, an acquaintance post about my friend's death for everyone to see.  This acquaintance only briefly attended our church, moved out of state several years ago, and was never close to my friend.  I'm not in any way suggesting that this acquaintance doesn't also have a right to grieve, but I thought it was definitely not her place to be posting about it on Facebook, especially so soon.  I know that many people would not have gotten the news yet and I would have been very upset if I had seen the Facebook post before I found out from my dad that she had passed.  I know my husband had not heard yet (he teaches) and I told him in the evening after our daughter went to bed, but I needed to make sure i did it before he checked Facebook so he didn't find out that way.

I know more and more people post "big" things (babies and death are both big) via Facebook, but what's the etiquette here?  Was she fine for posting this so soon, given her relationship to the person who passed?

FWIW, when my mom passed, my dad made calls to all our family and close friends individually.  Once we knew everyone who needed to know was informed, my sister posted on Facebook and my dad updated her Caringbridge to spread the word to those in less-tight circles.  It seemed appropriate at that point--and it was coming directly from family. 

Thoughts?

LilacGirl1983

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2013, 04:01:19 PM »
I personally would think she is rude since A) She is not close to the family and B) not all family was contacted yet...I found out my grandfather's wife passed on this way and was upset. I didn't know she passed. I knew she was sick and critical but not yet passed. For others it would have probably be upsetting to find out that way impersonal vs the phone call.

Just Lori

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2013, 04:13:36 PM »
It depends on where she heard it.

If she read something online, then I think it would be fair to comment upon it on Facebook.  For instance, if an announcement was made on a CaringBridge site run by the family, then the family had made the initial online announcement.

If she heard it through word-of-mouth and cannot confirm if an announcement had been made, it's best to not say anything.

violinp

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2013, 04:36:53 PM »
When a close friend of mine from church died, I heard about it from my parents. When I got onto Facebook, many people had already posted their thoughts about his passing and how they would miss him, etc., because word gets around fast in my church family. His family was already there when he died (didn't have many family members still alive), so it was probably okay in that situation, especially since most of the people who knew him were spread all across the country and wouldn't have gotten the news from our church family, were it not for Facebook.
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TurtleDove

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2013, 04:42:53 PM »
I think the specifics of this situation make the person who posted presumptuous.  On the other hand, I don't think it is rude or wrong for the people who are next of kin to decide to post about a death to get word out about funeral arrangements.  When my husband died suddenly at age 28, I did a facebook announcement with a general "this happened, the wake and funeral will be ___" and asked some of my husband's friends to do the same so that I could let everyone know of his passing so they could come to the visitation and funeral if they wished to. 

sparksals

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2013, 05:18:53 PM »
Sometimes FB is the only way people find out about deaths these days.  It is a newer form of communication and I think this is going to be more the norm than the exception now and in the future. 

Once the news has hit such a peripheral acquaintance, I think it is fair game to talk/write about.   

I also don't think it is the OP's place to assess the level of closeness between people.  The acquaintance could have kept in contact with the family without  knowing it. 

When my dad died, I was grateful word spread in so many directions.  It saved us from rehashing and making call after call after call. 

TurtleDove

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2013, 05:21:06 PM »
When my dad died, I was grateful word spread in so many directions.  It saved us from rehashing and making call after call after call.

Agreed - I would hope that next of kin would hear via phone call or in person first, but especially for cultures that have a limited time in which funerals must be held it is important to get the word out.

sparksals

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2013, 05:26:18 PM »
When my dad died, I was grateful word spread in so many directions.  It saved us from rehashing and making call after call after call.

Agreed - I would hope that next of kin would hear via phone call or in person first, but especially for cultures that have a limited time in which funerals must be held it is important to get the word out.

Yes.  It sounds in this situation that the family of the bereaved were all notified.  Once family are aware, I think it is fair game.  I don't think the person in question did anything wrong.  It is not that person's fault the OP could not notify her husband. 

Fragglerocker

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 08:41:21 PM »
Update/clarifications--

1) I do assume all family knew, but I don't know for sure. 

2) Neither the CaringBridge site nor anything on FB from the family had indicated my friend's passing at that point.  I'm linked to both and haven't gotten any CaringBridge announcement yet.     I am assuming the acquaintance who posted heard through the grapevine, same as I did--but I didn't post anything.  At that point the grapevine was not mass-notice, it was person to person. 

3) I don't know who specifically told the acquaintance (like I said, I am assuming the grapevine), but I do know how close the woman who died and this person were, because they knew each other through me.  The acquaintance was my secretary, I invited her to our church, she briefly got involved, then dropped going after about three months, then a year later, moved away.  I still am in touch with her via FB and I know she is still in communication with a few people that way, too, and as such would have heard about the woman's illness through the people who were closer to her. 

4)  I don't know how many other people had not yet heard through the grapevine about my friend's passing before they might have read my friend's announcement.  I just know that I would not want to have heard about her passing through this acquaintance.  It would have been really offputting.  But I guess that doesn't mean it was rude per se? 

5) No arrangements have yet been made so there was no news of a funeral/wake/memorial yet to share.

Not sure if this has any impact on anyone's thoughts or views or not.

miranova

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2013, 09:24:24 PM »
I found out that my grandfather died via Facebook message from my father.  It was a mass FB message that was also sent to my siblings.  I called all three of my siblings ASAP so that they would hear it from me before seeing the message.  They were grateful.  However, at least (?) my father didn't just post it on his wall before letting us know. 

I do think there is a time and place to post a death on Facebook....after all family/close friends have been notified.  It is a good way to get the news out and also quite frankly can be a means of support for the grieving parties.  I know that anytime one of my friends has posted about a death in their family it has always seemed the natural thing to do and it was a way for them to receive support and condolences....assuming all of the family already knows of course.

lmyrs

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2013, 06:12:49 PM »
Just because you wouldn't want to hear something on FB, doesn't make it rude to post. Perhaps the lady was overly presumptuous. Perhaps not. Maybe she was closer than the OP presumes. Maybe she was asked to spread the word. It seems to me that she found out at about the same time or before the OP so maybe there's a relationship there the OP isn't aware of. I mean, how else would she know?

bah12

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2013, 06:54:33 PM »
First, I'm sorry for your loss.

As for posting on FB, I don't find the timeline all that shocking.  Your friend passed away on Monday night...you were told about it the next day and after your notification, you saw the post on FB.  I wouldn't automatically assume that she was being presumptuous.   Her family was likely notified immediately after she passed and possibly even notified before then that the time was drawing near. 

I think that there are a lot of unpleasant things posted on FB.  And things that people wouldn't necessarily want to find out on FB, posted on FB.  But that alone doesn't make it rude.  FB is how  I find out about a lot of deaths of people that I'm not so close to that I would get a phone call about.  For me, personally, if I do hear of something tragic, I do try to wait for those that are much closer to the situation to post something first, but at the same time, I recognize that many people rely on the news spreading at will so they don't have to contact everyone themselves. 

Bottom line is that everyone is different and has different preferences of how news like this should be shared and who should share it.  I don't think it's necessarily rude for someone to post about a death on FB after they hear about it unless a family member specifically asks them not to. 

Minmom3

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Re: Announcing a death on FB?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2013, 09:52:40 PM »
I think what we have here is somewhat of a changing of the guard in an acceptable method for transmitting such news, AND somebody who LOVES to be first in line in telling such news.  There have always been such people.  They used to sit in the front window and watch through the curtain and gossip endlessly about what they saw through the window.  Once telephones were invented (party lines, anyone?!) they listened in on other peoples calls, and then spread the news themselves.  Now we have the internet and the process just got easier.  There have always been clashes between old and new modes of information transfer, and there have always been people who appear to really need that feeling of importance they get by being the first to TELL EVERYBODY!  They're just using a bigger forum on which to be rude these days.  And, as always, since they have no self control, the only way to deal with them is to ID them and keep them out of the loop.
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