Yesterday, I went on LinkedIn, and saw a request to celebrate someone's work anniversary. There was only one problem - that someone had died in May after a short illness. I don't know if it was COVID-19 related but it really doesn't matter. I was her friend "IRL" (in real life) and on Facebook and that's how I knew she had passed. In fact, I found out via a message her sister had posted.
From reading several posts, I quickly realized some of the people who had wished her a happy anniversary had no idea that she (let's call her "X") was no longer around to read their congratulations. Her employer had posted a "We miss you, X" message but I have a feeling, due to privacy concerns, they could not reveal that "X" was deceased.
In December of 2012 I blogged the below. Some things don't change. The post follows, with some edits.
"When I came home from work tonight, I found a post on Facebook from a
cousin who graduated from a local college last year. She was mourning
the death of a fellow classmate. In other words, my cousin was
announcing the death of someone who died - as we older people like to
say - too soon.
I don't know how this young woman died, but a quick look online revealed two things.
First, I was a third degree connection of hers on LinkedIn. The person
linking us used to work with me and now works at the college she
Second, my cousin was her friend on Facebook, meaning she was a friend of a friend of mine.
Because of these connections, I was able to see her picture on LinkedIn,
and was able to view her timeline on Facebook. (Least this sound
creepy, I didn't linger long- I just wanted to know something about this
person who meant something to one of my cousins and who was linked to
me through social media.) Meantime, her college has organized a
candlelight vigil for her in physical life.
I can mourn the untimely passing of someone I never knew thanks to social media.
When I graduated from high school, many of those in my graduating class
went on to college. Two members of my class died within a year, both on
the same weekend, in unrelated car accidents.
I didn't find out about this (because I didn't know either individual)
for many years later. I went to an urban high school in New York City, and there
were a lot of people in my graduating class.
Now, we know something like this in hours."
In a way, "Q" will live forever through her social networking accounts. But it may not be the way she wanted.
It (again) made me think what I should do about my own accounts. Facebook does provide a way to appoint a "legacy contact".
For LinkedIn, it is more complex, and your contact might actually have to violate their terms of service, which seems ridiculous.
Have you made these plans?