Dead Is Dead, Except On Facebook
by POPSIE 1956
This blog is actually a continuation of a post I had on my Facebook page the other day regarding something that personally appalled me.
Those of you on social media sites know you have the option to be notified when one of your friends have a special occasion coming up (birthday, job anniversary, relationship/wedding anniversary).
I must have picked the habit up from my mom, who was “socially active” years before it became fashionable; she had a “Master List” of family, friends, co workers etc, which had all of the above information and more. She rarely missed an occasion to salute one of those people, something I try to match, but from time to time fail at.
So the other day, I got notified by my list of a few friends who were to be celebrating birthdays.
I will usually cross check with reminders I get from Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
This time, Facebook had a listing of the birthday of a former friend.
His name is Mark, I first met him in 1980 when I was working at a radio station in Mansfield, Ohio.
I say “former friend,” because last year, Mark died.
Yet, Facebook told me “Hey, Mark is having a birthday today, wish him well.”
So, I go to Mark’s Facebook page, which is still active after his death. From my past experience, family/friends may keep the page of a loved one who has passed still going.
I understand this, while I lost contact with Mark over the years, I still miss him.
I scroll down to see quite a few messages posted on the date of his birth, some were appropriate..(no names, just messages);
“I miss you, Mark.”
“Missing you Mark!…”
“Missing Mark more than ever. Especially today.”
“Happy Birthday Mark…Rest in Peace !!!”
“Thinking of you Mark, Happy Birthday up there!”
And so on and so on.
OK, obviously, these are from people who know Mark has passed.
However, I see a few like this;
“Happy birthday to you, hope you have a great birthday”
“Happy birthday hope you have a good one”
Or there’s just a general “Happy Birthday.”
Now that you’ve seen this, please read part of what I posted on my Facebook page;
“I see SCORES of “friends” wishing a dead man happy birthday. To me this reflects more on these “friends” who have no idea the man is even alive or not! I also realize FB has this “thing” of keeping a dead person’s page active, but personally I’m offended by this, am I wrong? Maybe I’m seeing it differently. What say you?”
I’m going to post comments from a few of my friends (again no names). My point is to get this out and (with luck) stimulate further conversations, since I am sure if you are reading this, you may have a friends/loved one in the same “circumstances” as Mark.
“It could be his family and/or friends keeping the Facebook page alive (My response-“Yeah, I get that and can agree, but if that’s the case the family could..in his honor, post something that can stay at the top of the page”.)
“I think some people have an app that automatically wishes happy birthday to friends who are celebrating. But Facebook should have a way to make a deceased person page more like a memorial. It’s nice for people to be able to go to these pages and see the pictures an memories.”
“I understand Mike. When my mom passed away I could only keep her page active for a few days. But I must admit that deactivating it was like saying goodbye all over again.”
“Guess it depends on what people are writing…If its a message that celebrates them, well thats good! If its a message that says ‘ Hope you have a Great Day’ …. Well then, thats not so good”
“They have an option now to memorialize a page, so it is more sensitive to the fact that the person has passed. If someone has access to the account, they can request it be converted to a memorial, which is far more sensitive to those who loved the deceased.”
“Technology is ahead of human activity…and inactivity. Someone from the family may want to, or not, delete their loved one’s profile on Facebook. But, they may not know the password!”
“And it’s not just FB. It happens even on LinkedIn.”
“It troubles me, too. Something just doesn’t seem right about it. I wonder if Facebook made it too hard to activate that memorialize option if the person didn’t name a contingency or give someone the password.”
“I wished a high school classmate happy birthday earlier this year and their kid told me they had died. Well, no one told me and I was surprised that their Facebook page was still active. I think a Facebook page should die when a person dies.”
“When you join Social Media you agree to follow the guidelines of the Media you join. It’s disturbing, yes. Why does it work this way. Look at the adds and the truth shall set you free.”
So, what’s the answer?
Honestly, don’t have one.
Personally, when I first saw the notification that Mark’s day of birth had arrived, I had two emotions; sorrow in knowing he’s gone, and anger at knowing some of his so called friends may think he’s still alive.
Those are not true friends.
So nothing funny, witty or reflective to end this, but I DO want to hear from you, and I want you to tell me what you think.
The Internet in general, and Social Media in particular, can be a great thing.
But occasions like this ruin it for me.