The numbers are astounding: Facebook has more than 2 billion users. Nearly 58 million photos are posted to Instagram every day. Around 8,000 tweets are sent every single second. From our meals and vacations to our kids and pets, the topics covered on social media are many and varied. But time and time again at Sunset View Cemetery & Mortuary, we field questions about whether it’s appropriate to post about funeral or memorial services.

Certainly, we’ve seen links to online obituaries and scrolled through the accompanying comments. We’ve likely read touching tributes on Twitter, and noticed “check-ins” from funeral homes, churches, or crematoriums. While there are no strict guidelines when it comes to social media usage surrounding funerals, here are a few common questions we hear, along with advice from our professional staff based on what they’ve observed from families.

Q: Is it okay to announce the news of someone’s death on social media?

A: It goes without saying that posting the news of a death on your personal page carries a certain risk. You don’t want friends and family to see the announcement in their newsfeed before they were properly informed. At Sunset View, we only post obituaries and service times after receiving a family’s permission. So if you see the obituary posted to our website or Facebook page, you’ll know the family is aware of the death. That’s a green light that the news can be shared publicly.

Q: Is it appropriate to express my sympathy to a friend or family member on a public page?

A: Online connections can be wonderful tools for supporting grieving loved ones after a death. Be mindful of what you write and where, remembering that posts are viewed publicly. Better yet, consider sending a private message, making a phone call, or paying a visit. Offering condolences through a heartfelt note or in person could make all the difference.

 Q: Can I check in or take a selfie at a funeral?

A: Simply put, it’s important to respect the family of the person who died. Posting from a funeral could be a distraction or viewed as inappropriate by the loved ones of the deceased, so it’s best to refrain. Take it a step further by keeping your phone turned off and tucked away or in your car during the funeral.

Social media helps us connect, learn, and share experiences with others. If used properly, it can also be used as an effective method of communication and a source of social support for those who have lost a loved one.

If you have additional questions or are curious about the services we offer and preplanning your own funeral, reach out to us today. We’d also encourage you to join our own Facebook community, where we talk about our services, share inspiration for the day, and spread the word about local events.