Deleting someone who has died from social media.

Stephanie’s presentation will look at the emotional impact of the loss, or potential loss, of deleting someone who has died from social media. Most people now have online lives and online friends or family, but what happens when these friends or family die? For some, this is a way of remembering someone who has died and can be helpful in feeling that connection when it may be the only one. For others, the memory or reminders may be too painful. There have been some cases where conversations or photos have been lost due to the platform removing them, causing upset to those left behind. There is also digital “death tourism”, such as seeking out the social media of celebrities or mutual friends that have died. Whereas people don’t know these people directly, they feel it is a way of showing respect or having that connection in a community and understanding of what may have happened.

These “digital graveyards” are set to increase over the years and so it is important that we understand how this may look and what impact it can have on people.

The aim of this presentation is not only to encourage people to think about whether they would delete someone from their social media in the event of their death or whether they would keep the memory, but to get them to think about what they want to happen to their own social media after their death.

About Stephanie Owens

Stephanie Owens is passionate about social change and all things death and dying, having worked in the end of life sector for several years. Her specialist interests include acceptance and understanding of neurodivergent grief and attitudes towards death, and grieving for animals. She is currently a volunteer for Project Eileen which helps young people cope with death and provides resources to schools on death and bereavement.

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