Something really sad and strange happened yesterday.
One of the guys I trained in Cultural Immersion sadly passed away, and I found out through facebook status updates.
I don’t speak tagalog, so at first I couldn’t really figure out what was happening. I realised that some of his classmates were posting messages that spoke about him leaving and about losing him, so stupidly I thought he had left the company and thought nothing of it.
But the messages kept rolling in and something didn’t feel right, so I checked out his profile and realised that seemingly he had indeed passed away.
I didn’t know what to do. The protocol seemed to be to post a message of loss and condolence on his wall, but to me this seemed like an odd thing to do. It was also very sad.
His last status update spoke about his trip to the beach last Friday, it was very confronting to think that he was this person planning a trip to the beach and joking about it on his facebook profile, and now it was a place of grieving and condolence messages and funeral plans and updates.
Then I realised…is Facebook the death notice page of the new millenium?
Does anyone even check the death notices page of the newspaper anymore? I know I certainly don’t. I imagine I would find out about the death of an acquaintance through a mutual friend or through facebook or email. I certainly wouldn’t think to read the paper.
I understand that times are changing, indeed I have embraced social media to the max, but there is something still that doesn’t feel right about combining death and facebook. Perhaps it is because I think facebook is still a fairly frivolous medium, and so couldn’t take death seriously?
What do you think?