Archive for Sunday, June 5, 2011

Social media websites serve as living memorials for deceased

June 5, 2011


Three years after her death, Jana Mackey&squot;s Facebook page remains open to her friends. Friends and family post memorial messages on Mackey&squot;s "wall," including longtime childhood friend Kelly Tyrrell.

Three years after her death, Jana Mackey's Facebook page remains open to her friends. Friends and family post memorial messages on Mackey's "wall," including longtime childhood friend Kelly Tyrrell.

The day Amy Spencer, along with her husband and two children, died in a plane crash in Jefferson County earlier this year, friends and family were already memorializing Amy on her Facebook page.

“We will miss you and your family. May you rest well in God’s hands,” wrote one of Amy’s friends.

And three years after the death of Lawrence woman Jana Mackey, Kelly Tyrrell still posts messages in memory of her childhood friend.

“Today would be a good day to remember you, and your bright warm smile,” Tyrrell recently posted.

The posts become a living, online obituary, a trend seen locally and nationally, said Molly McHugh, a junior staff writer at Digital Trends, which operates a media-trend monitoring website.

New sites, such as, have even popped up that cater to helping friends and family maintain a social media afterlife for loved ones.

“It’s been interesting to see,” said McHugh of the trend’s evolution.

She noted several positive aspects of the online interaction between the living and the deceased. For instance, it can provide a bridge for those who may not be able to travel to a traditional memorial location. That was the case with Tyrrell, who lives out of state and wasn’t able to attend Mackey’s funeral.

But the trend has forced social media sites to examine how to handle protecting the deceased, in what at times has led to awkward and grief-causing moments.

McHugh cited instances where people find out first online that a relative or friend has died, or cases when the deceased pops up in the “people you may know” section.

To address such issues, Facebook developed a memorialized account option. A close friend or relative notifies Facebook of a death, and the account is frozen to friend requests or other changes, while still allowing friends to post on the deceased’s wall.

Tyrrell said she’s glad such an option exists, as it allows her to remember her friend.

“It just feels good,” she said. “It feels like she hears me.”


totheground 7 years ago

I agree that these websites are wonderful. What I am disappointed with is that Facebook deleted Patricia Kimmi's page without the family notifying them. SOMEONE may have notified them that she had died --but it was NOT her family!! It was a complete shock to find that her page had been DELETED. Repeated pleas to FB were ignored -- so sad!

For anyone who doesn't know who Pat Kimmi is -- she was the Horton, KS woman who was taken from her home in Nov. 2009. Her body was found in May 2010 and Roger Hollister of Sabetha KS is serving a life term for her murder. Authorities expect to bring charges against one or maybe two other people.

Her kids and family were on her page daily as people from all over posted encouragement to them and love to her. It was a horrible horrible slam to them for FB to take the page down without their say so.

Nikki May 7 years ago

Sadly, facebook doesn't listen to people who ask for help. It sounds even worse in this case. I am sorry they won't put it back

I was going to reply to the article. One of my facebook friends passed away and it's all the apps that bother me. No, he did not post a question about me.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years ago

"Social media" websites are dangerous. They can bring spam, viruses, contact with total strangers who could be murderers, rapists, and other mal-contents. Anyone who would expose themselves on these "social" websites is asking for trouble and many find it. I think they should have been banned long ago.

yoornotmee 7 years ago

Ban social media? What freedom would you propose banning next? Sheesh.

SecondAmmendment 7 years ago

"She noted several positive aspects of the online interaction between the living and the deceased." Doesn't "interaction between" insinuate that both parties are interacting? I'm pretty sure the people that have died aren't communicating back.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years ago

I will correct myself. There is no social media on this computer. This is a free country, and you are given permission to go socialize all you want. Have fun!!

There. Now, everybody happy?? Hope so!!

verity 7 years ago

Would these comment sections not be considered social media?

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