Many people are part of virtual communities online. Hence, a person’s death impacts not only those in his/her close physical environment, but also has an impact on his/her digital friends, who are often spread around the world. As a bereaved family member or friend, online platforms that may have been of little interest to you before may now become important means of preserving contact with the digital contacts of the deceased person.
Therefore, you might consider the possibility of opening profiles on the social networks where the deceased person was active, and introducing yourself to his/her friends, even if you were not in contact with them prior to the death. A more detailed explanation of this process for Facebook can be found in the following pages.
You may not wish to use the deceased person’s account in order to make contact with their digital friends this as this may cause distress to them, thus, it is advisable to create your own account on the given website or network (if you do not already have one).
There are several websites offering platforms for mourning, grieving, commemoration and memorialization, in addition to similar functions offered within the social networks.
It is also possible to create a memorial website that will be devoted to your deceased loved one alone. For example, please see the memorial site of Hayes Kent (http://bit.ly/1xqoXb6) or Remembering Chad Watkins (http://bit.ly/1lO1NXn). The advantage of such individually-run memorial sites is that the website is fully owned and controlled by you, unlike other sites or platforms where your content is hosted by or “a guest” on the site. The disadvantage of such individually-run sites is that you are the only person that can upload content, which means it may be less inviting for other people who were close to the deceased to share their memories and content. Another disadvantage is that the number of visitors and the frequency of visits to this website is unknown. Moreover, since there is no community built around the site, the friends of the deceased may not feel as able to express themselves, share their mutual memories, upload photos etc., as they can in the virtual communities.
Lists of sites offering mourning and memorialization platforms can be found in my blog, in the post virtual grief and commemoration (http://bit.ly/1upE28a).
(Taken from Death In The Digital Era: A Useful Guide by Vered Shavit, ‘Digital Dust’ www.digitaldustblog.com. March 2nd 2015)
Memorial Websites and Platforms
Here are a few examples of memorial websites. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it an endorsement or recommendation for any individual site; it is meant only to give a general picture of what is available. If you are planning on using a memorial website, remember that it can close down; it is wise to download your content as a back-up.