How the internet is changing the way we grieve


People don’t die in the same manner that they used to. In the past, a relative, pal, or accomplice might bypass away, and in time, all that could be left could be reminiscences and a set of photos. These days, the lifeless are forever present online, and digital encounters with someone who has passed away have become a commonplace experience.

Each folk has a digital footprint – the buildup of our online activity that chronicles lifestyles online through blogs, snapshots, video games, websites, networks, shared testimonies, and reviews.

When a person dies, their “virtual selves” remain available for people to peer and have interaction with. These digital selves exist inside the identical online areas that many humans use daily. And that is a brand new and unexpected phenomenon that a few humans might locate troubling – formerly useless people were now not present in this manner.

Yet, for some, these areas have emerged as a treasured device, particularly for the bereaved. A rising body of studies is now examining how the internet, including social media and memorial websites, enables new grieving approaches – that transcend conventional notions of “letting cross” and “moving on.”

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Forever online

A colleague and I first became interested in how deceased loved ones were remembered online years ago. My interest in the time changed into how suicides have been memorialized online and motivated people to try this. I also desired to know how these online memorials impacted humans’ grief and the trauma of being bereaved through suicide and how these online areas have been modified through the years.

Online grieving can make humans less on their own. Shutterstock

Turning to social media for a guide while coping with grief and the lack of a loved one facilitates mourners and others to make sense of death by speaking about it. This helps to make it a much, much less setting apart experience. It presents the bereaved with a “network of mourners,” or as one of our members placed it:

I’ve been given 67 people who I can share my grief with … and they all recognize where I’m coming from.


For many mourners, the maximum essential motivating factor seems to be the want to live linked to the deceased and to “keep them alive.” Keeping a Facebook web page going by actively retaining the “in existence” profile of the dead or growing a brand new “in memorial” profile lets customers ship personal or public messages to the dead and publicly express their grief. In our research, money owed for speaking to the dead on Facebook has been common:

People cross up [to his Facebook site] and positioned mementos on and that they’ll say on Facebook, Been to see you today, Mark … yesterday I went up, and I just chatted to him …

Now, more than 3-and-a-half years on … they write and say virtually miss you, Mark, or I’m doing this, and it reminded me of you … he’s nonetheless being protected in what his friends are doing.

In this way, the use of social media is going a few manners closer to answering the query of where to place one’s emotions – consisting of love, grief, and guilt – after a death. Many humans turn to equal websites to promote recognition, elevating, and fundraising for various charities in reminiscence of their loved ones.

Virtual dwelling

In this sense, preserving the deceased alive on Facebook is a way of operating in opposition to loss. It illustrates how social networking sites replace traditional mourning items – together with objects of jewelry, apparel, or gravestones – which are imbued with specific emotional resonance and ultimately take on additional importance after the loss of life.

Unlike sentimental gadgets, social media pages and online spaces allow human beings to discover grief with others from the consolation in their domestic. Talking to human beings online can also help to unfasten a number of the inhibitions that might be, in any other case, felt. At the same time, speaking approximate loss enables forms of uncensored self-expression that are not comparable with face-to-face conversations.

So, although the physical bond to a cherished one may be long gone, a digital presence remains and evolves after death. In this manner, online memorial websites and social networking spaces assist the bereaved to peer how events inside the beyond can keep having a feed inside the present and the destiny.

Aly Jones
Twitter evangelist. Web fanatic. Lifelong travel nerd. Passionate zombie scholar. Extreme coffee fan. Amateur entrepreneur. Avid beer lover. Had moderate success lecturing about wieners in the UK. Won several awards for short selling clip-on ties in Hanford, CA. Uniquely-equipped for creating marketing channels for cod in Bethesda, MD. Spent a weekend buying and selling Easter candy in Phoenix, AZ. Was quite successful at analyzing tar in the government sector. Have a strong interest in getting to know barbie dolls for fun and profit.