Virtual Tombstone

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Facebook Profiles as Living Tombstones

Recently when someone with a Facebook profile passes away their wall functions as a digital homage to that person. People write present-tense addresses to the deceased person in this public space, knowing full well that they have passed away and will not be looking at these messages.[1] Given that tombstones can be difficult to reach and expensive in real life, a virtual tombstone seems to fill a natural void by allowing friends and family to browse pictures, look at their accomplishments/friends, write a homage to the person, and generally reminisce without leaving their seat. It is recommended to have someone you trust know your passwords so that they can effectively manage your virtual self[2] in case you pass away.

"Poking" dead people is considered bad form.


  1. Lee, David. There's life after death if you're online. Social networking sites are having to devise policies to deal with the death of a user - and some are getting it more right than others] The Guardian. Published 7 August 2008, accessed 30 June 2011.
  2. Cheng, Jacqui. Death and social media: what happens to your life online? Ars Technica. Published March 2010, Accessed June 2011.