Tuesday, November 14, 2006

On-line Memorials

[Busy day yesterday: press release to get media coverage and help in identifying a recent John Doe, staff meeting, regular work stuff, and taped a segment for the Today show (30 minute taping for 20 seconds of “air time”).]

I did want to mention a website somewhat related to “MyDeathSpace” that I posted about the other day: http://www.memory-of.com/. It is a site that allows a person to set up a web-page memorial site to memorialize an individual that has died. The usual posting consists of a “life story” with pictures and background music. You can include audio and video clips. The web-page is viewable by others who can leave condolences and comments.

I don’t mean to do an ad for these folks (and there are likely other similar sites) but I think this is likely a new cultural trend. It seems to be a “next step” beyond the growth of “roadside” memorials that have become quite the cultural trend (I will reserve my opinions about those).

These types of sites allow for a more public grieving (although the intent of the posters may be more personal, allowing for “visits” by friends and family). It also seems to allow for public/community sharing in that grieving. The latter seems to be the cultural trend, “sharing” in the grieving of people we may or may not have know in life (like many that participate in “roadside” memorials). We used to send a condolence card and/or flowers, contribute to a memorial fund, and the like. There would be a headstone at the graveyard, at times lavish, but these “displays” are new (or seem so to me). And while there were always those that shared the grieving at the funeral, there were few who participated who did not know the individual before death (although there were those few like the characters in the movie Harold and Maude who enjoyed attending funerals).

Why has this trend for public “displays” of grieving developed? What need do they address?

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