How 1 Billion People Are Coping With Death and Facebook

“I think I’m going to go online,” said Cheryl, logging in to Facebook from her hospital bed.

She soon reconsidered, however. “I don’t know what to write: ‘Hey I almost died last night. What’s up with you guys?'”


Months later, Cheryl died from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her partner Kelli Dunham still cherishes funny memories like this one. “She was kind of a smart ass,” Dunham tells Mashfable.

The two represent a phenomenon occurring the world over: Facebook after death. Couples, families, colleagues and friends are not only coping with losing loved ones, but also interacting with the Facebook profiles they leave behind.

The situation surfaces a multitude of questions and concerns. What happens to a Facebook profile after death? How do people interact with a dead user? Should loved ones be able to access a dead user’s profile at all? What is acceptable online grieving etiquette? And finally, what has grief become in the age of social media?

As of 2012, 30 million people who maintained Facebook accounts have died, according to areport by The Huffington Post. Some studies approximate that nearly 3 million users have died in 2012 alone; 580,000 in the U.S.

Read the entire article HERE on Mashable

Would Antidepressants Help During Grieving?

Grief and depression have similar symptoms. With new changes in psychiatric diagnosis definitions, the two will increasingly overlap.


Declared complete, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is slated for release in May, but debate continues to surround some of its more controversial changes — specifically, the elimination of the old DSM’s “bereavement exclusion” in diagnoses of major depression disorder (MDD). People in mourning often have similar “symptoms” to people with depression; the exclusion was originally intended prevent psychiatrists from diagnosing someone with MDD before they could be sure that the symptoms they were seeing were more than the usual manifestations of grief. Now, psychiatrists will no longer be advised to wait two months after a patient loses a loved one, for the period of “normal” grief to pass, to diagnose mental illness — and prescribe antidepressants.

Writing for the New York Times’ philosophy column, Gary Gutting frames this as a moral issue. For “normal” grievers and those for whom a loss has triggered an episode of depression, he argues, “The suffering may be the same, but suffering from the death of a loved one may still have a value that suffering from other causes does not.” He insists, “No amount of empirical information about the nature and degree of suffering can, by itself, tell us whether someone ought to endure it.” He argues that psychiatrists, as medical doctors, aren’t qualified to make this decision.

Read the full article HERE

Meet Facebook’s newest oldest user Maria

Earlier this year, a 101-year-old woman from Menlo Park, Calif. (in Facebook’s neighborhood) was crowned the oldest user on the social network. However, according to ABC News, a 105-year-old woman from New Mexico is the rightful owner of the title.

ABC News wrote a story about Maria Colunia Segura-Metzgar, who turned 105 earlier this week and uses Facebook to keep in touch with her children and grandchildren. One of her grandsons, who set up the profile for her, said that he tried to accurately reflect Segura-Metzgar’s birthdate, but the site rejected it.

Grandson Anthony Segura talked about his grandmother’s Facebook activity with ABC News:

I tried to sign her up on Facebook a few months ago, but it wouldn’t accept her birthdate. Then I tried again and just put in 101, and it accepted it for the timeline, even though she was 104 … Now on Facebook it says she’s 102 when, in reality, she’s 105.

Segura-Metzgar joined Facebook Aug. 31, and has 86 friends — strictly friends and relatives. Segura told ABC News that his grandmother loves to tell stories about her life and the family, and they’re interested in making use of Facebook’s timeline format to turn her profile into a virtual scrapbook.



The Death Café

A few dozen Ohioans will meet Wednesday evening in a community room at a Panera Bread outside of Columbus for tea, cake and conversation over an unusual shared curiosity.

For two hours, split between small circles and a larger group discussion, they’ll talk about death. A facilitator may throw out questions to spark the conversation: How do they want to die? In their sleep? In the hospital? Of what cause? When do they want die? Is 105 too old? Are they scared? What kind of funerals do they want, if any? Is cremation better than burial? And what do they need accomplish before life is over?

This is the Death Cafe, an anything-goes, frank conversation on death that’s been hosted at dozens of coffee shops and community centers in American cities from Arizona to Maine since beginning in the Columbus area in July. Death Cafes are modeled on similar gatherings in European cities that have been taking place for several years.

“The goal is to raise death awareness with the view of helping people make the most of their lives. I’m really passionate about death,” said Lizzy Miles, a hospice volunteer and social worker who organizes the Columbus-area cafes, which take place about once a month and draw a range of attendees, from new college graduates to recent retirees.

Read the entire, interesting article on the Huffington Post