Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Impact Social Media Has Had On Grieving Death

David bowieOnline social media has changed the way society grieves death. After the passing of musician David Bowie there were many tributes and outpourings of love and support on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Public digital expressions of grief have become an important part of the healing process in modern society. People’s online memory is becoming a more important aspect of their lives. Facebook has recognized these changing trends and is allowing users to designate a person to be a “legacy contact” who would have limited control over their account when they pass away. This will permit people to memorialize their Facebook profiles for loved ones. The rising importance of social media in everyday life is changing the ritual of mourning death.

See Michael Reilly, The Internet Has Changed How We Deal With Death, MIT Technology Review, January 21, 2016.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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This year I have been coming across the subject of grieving related to social media repeatedly. The big thing is families trying to retrieve or claim ownership of images from social media and as attachments to e-mails. I think this is something we need to address as a property right and as ownership after death through pre-planning.

Posted by: Stan Butterfield | Jan 23, 2016 3:58:08 PM

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