A Guide To Social Media Condolences
Death — or what some people refer to as the most underrated stage of life...Everyone is guaranteed to encounter death at some point, and everyone will grieve in their own way. White people, for example, place "in memory of" bumper stickers on the back of their Pontiac Grand Am's, black people use airbrushed t-shirts, and North Korean's cry until they're told they can stop.
With the invention of social media, people now have a platform to commemorate those who have passed. Sometimes a person needs to let their emotions run free, and something like Instagram can be a great place to do so.
That being said, there's always a line to be crossed; A couple of days - I'll give you that. But when commemorative posts creep into week two territory, I'm left with no choice but to politely mute you.
Death is hard; I get it, but you also have to understand that it's a detriment to my mental health when I'm scrolling through back-to-back-to-back-to-back thotty IG stories when, out of nowhere, a picture of you holding - what appears to be your dead grandmother's hand - pops up. You can imagine how those kinds of polar opposites would throw a guy off.
Also - The fact that you took the time to pull out your iPhone so you could take a picture holding hands with your dead relative befuddle's me. I swear to God if I'm on my death bed and little Bigleys Jr. (God forbid he lives through the Plan B and abortion) is holding my hand, only to whisper, "One last picture for Instagram," I'll garner every last ounce of life inside of me to slap the fuck out of him.
EDIT: Consider that number one on this list: Don't post a picture of your dead relative's hand.
REFOCUS BACK IN
This past weekend I sat down to reflect on this new combination of social media and deaths. Twenty years earlier, you were lucky to have your name mentioned in the newspaper or announced at church after you croaked. But in today's world, friends and family can commemorate a death with tools like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, even TikTok, if you're into that kind of thing.
The question at hand is, really, what is the right way to show your virtual condolences? To help, I've put together a quick guide on the proper etiquette for social media funerals:
1…Let the Post Breathe
Being the first person to see a death post has always thrown me into a mental loop. There's something about "liking" a post about a dead person.
"Oh, no shit, Jared's grandpa died." **TapTap**
Liking a picture announcing the death of someone is already a weird concept by itself, but if you double-tap 15 seconds after it was posted, people are going to think you're celebrating Nana's death. Avoid coming off as excited; Instead, let the post age and come back at a later time.
2…Remember - Now's Not The Time To Bring Up Those Stories
When the death of a young person occurs, it always feels more tragic. Who knows what kind of impact they would have made on this world had they'd been given more time. Due to their their youth, there's a higher probability that there were some funny partying stories that recently occurred.
Let's make this clear: Now's not the time to break out these stories.
Don't get me wrong; The tale of how I blacked out, got tossed from the strip club because I thought the private dances were performed out of love and the personal connection me and Candy had made, only to ultimately puke in the streets of Detroit is an absolute classic. But I also don't want that to be the top comment under my sisters "in memory of," post. Let's just pretend, if only for a moment, that I had the slightest chance to do something meaningful.
3…Make Sure To Comment, "Who?" On Posts About Celebrities You Didn't Care For
I've mentioned this in a past article, but I thought it would be a good time to circle back around...
Congratulations, that celebrity who you didn't know, or more importantly, despised, has finally died. You've been waiting on this moment for years. Now's the time to let the people know your true feelings.
Maybe take a swift jab by commenting, "Who?" to show your lack of respect. Really give it to them by tossing a, "Why should we care," or perhaps a, "We really relaxed the definition of superstar/celebrity."
And if they overdosed? You, sir, just hit the double jackpot. Go ahead and leave that, "Darwinism" comment you've been holding in all these years. You earned it.
4…Tasteful Use Of Emojis
I know you're heartbroken about Lucy's cousin's death, but I urge you to avoid hammering that crying emoji. A single praying hands and maybe even a heart is just fine.
Using something called an emoji to express your grief is questionable enough, but after ripping six of them in a row, people are going to start questioning if you're covering up some sort of involvement in the death.
Personally, I prefer the "I'm praying for you and your family" comment. It's a classic. I know that you know that I know that I haven't said a prayer since I found that rash in my groin area last year. Luckily, I managed to pray that one away, but I'm walking a fine line with the big man upstairs. Tossing up a Hail Mary is only going to work so many times a year. Call me selfish all you want, but I'm not wasting one of those on your second favorite uncle.
Superficial? Sure. But posting four heart emoji's of varying colors gives the vibe that their dog just died, not their dad. Either way, if you're going to do it, at least keep it simple.
EDIT: I was unaware before I started this article that adding gifs to funeral comments were a thing. Let's slot that in-between "Tasteful Use Of Emoji's" and "Now's Not The Time To Hashtag," for things not to do. Don't get me wrong, I love GIPHY as much as the next guy, but it's better that we keep those condolence gifs on the sideline.
To be fair, this does seem to be a predominately Android thing to do, which makes more sense...
5…For The Poster: Now's Not The Time To Hashtag
What are you doing? Fishing for bot likes? This isn't a FaHoo post; it's your dead mother we're talking about. I think it should be pretty self-explanatory: Hashtagging "RIP" probably isn't the right move here. Me, the consumer, will immediately feel a little less sad about the situation.
When it comes down to it, use your best judgment of what normal is. If you have a disconnect with reality, ask someone you consider grounded for advice. Know that sometimes, you don't have to say anything at all. Just because you follow a person doesn't mean you really have to care. I follow tons of people I don't care all that much about. When I see that their auntie died, I say to myself, "That's a bummer," and keep on scrolling. For the ones you do care about, maybe shoot them a text or a call. They'll need your support in real life, not just the Instagram comments.