With significant adoption of social networks by baby boomers and with gene x reaching middle age, we now have a broad population that is open to using the Internet as a way to grieve and remember loved ones after death. Entrepreneurs have seen this opportunity and as a result we have seen explosive growth in the online memorials industry.
In addition to the 17 online memorial sites that we currently have on our list of digital legacy services, we are now adding ForeverMissed, Solium, People 2 Remember, Stayalive, Memory-Of.com, and Planned Departure.
We’ve seen Facebook being used as a social grieving space for several years already. Profiles of the deceased are routinely transformed into online memorials. But the memorialization process locks the profile and disables the ability to add new “friends.” As a result we’ve seen the creation of memorial “pages” on Facebook. A simple search for “R.I.P” on Facebook shows that people are creating these pages so anyone can participate.
Dedicated online memorial websites go a step further than Facebook. They create a place whose declared purpose is to connect with others and grieve socially. This eliminates the confusion that people experience when encountering death in a vibrantly social place like Facebook.
It is uncertain how sustainable all this growth is. What we are probably seeing is an initial growth explosion of a new industry. My guess is that we’ll see consolidation and drop off of companies in the coming years. But for the time being, the online memorial rush is in full swing.
Photo by Herry Lawford
I used to find it awkward, people grieving on social networks. While support in the grieving process is necessary, social networks for the sole purpose of that seems strange still.