We live in an increasingly virtual world where Facebook allows us to peak into the lives of our real and virtual friends. Every demographic has been affected by the rise of social sites that allow us to share pictures, videos and our thoughts.
Facebook, in many ways, is the public forum that most of us use to relay our interests. It’s also a place where friends can pay memorial tribute to those who have passed away. However, a more appropriate method for remembering our loved ones is through new virtual cemeteries.
We are definitely a mobile society with 90 percent of us owning cell phones and more than half of us connected to the Internet via smartphones. It’s increasingly acceptable to share our memories of loved ones who have gone before us through virtual outlets.
While nearly everyone has adopted social networking, there is a segment of the population that will never be completely comfortable with the technology and they will therefore never find it acceptable to leave condolences via a social website or virtual memorial. Such a move would be outside the acceptable social norms.
In today’s society, young adults, or the millennials, were born with the Internet already established and virtual communications a normal part of life. They have never known a world without at least one computer in the house and they find all forms of interaction online completely acceptable. Access and innovation are changing the way we connect at all stages of life. Those who embrace the channel also embrace opportunity.
Most funeral homes offer obituaries online, allowing users to visit the obituary of someone they know and leave a comment about the person or condolences to the family. Virtual cemeteries, however, have taken things a step further and give a more thorough view of the deceased’s life.
When we die, we leave a lifetime of events and memories behind. Many of these events were caught on camera. Virtual memorials sites offer users a full experience of the deceased’s life through music, pictures, videos and text. The virtual cemetery becomes a social community that rallies around one person’s life and celebrates it online. Visitors who have the option of sharing stories about their friend or family member’s life express the memories that weren’t caught on camera.
Since most smartphones have a camera capable of taking video and stills, society has developed what might best be described as an obsession with documenting every facet of our lives, from the food we eat to the gatherings we have with friends and/or family to the “selfies” that express our situation or mood at any given moment. Virtual cemeteries are an excellent repository for these images that go a long way in not only explaining something about the personality of the person in the images, but help the bereaved as they cope with the loss of their loved one.