Technology and Condolence Messages

The Internet and social media have revolutionized our lives in ways we never imagined. Shopping. Banking. Dating. It is no surprise, then, that the Internet and new technologies are also changing the way we mourn and ritualize death. This is one of the reasons we created Heart2Soul: To help people navigate online funeral information and connect from all corners of the world.

Peggy Post, director and spokesperson for The Emily Post® Institute, says it's OK to use technology to communicate the news of a death with friends and family, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when informing others.

  • Whenever possible, tell people closest to the honoree in person or on the telephone.
  • After an announcement has been made in the newspaper, it's appropriate to share the information on a social networking site such as Facebook.

Heart2Soul Community

The Heart2Soul Community is a free, online community. It is designed to help communicate details regarding funeral services to family members, friends, colleagues and distant contacts all across the globe. Family members and guests who sign in to the community can share photos and videos and sign up for email alerts to receive up-to-date service information. Messages and condolences can be left on a customized guestbook. You can even sign up to deliver a meal or volunteer to help the family with errands.

Click here to search for a Heart2Soul Community.

Online Obituary Services

The Internet is fast becoming the place to post obituaries and death notices. Some online obituaries and memorials are automatically generated by newspapers, unbeknownst to the family. This means if you leave a sympathy note, the family may never see it. It's best to ask the family if they have created an online guest book or community for the honoree, like the Heart2Soul Community. All Heart2Soul Communities are created by friends and family of the honoree; they are not automatically generated.

Click here to see if the family has created a Heart2Soul Community.


Is it all right to email an expression of sympathy? Though some experts may disagree, Peggy Post, director and spokesperson for The Emily Post® Institute, says an email is an immediate and non-intrusive way to show you are thinking about a friend or co-worker in the initial days following the death of a family member. Follow up an emailed message with a handwritten note and, if possible, attend the funeral or visitation.

Social Media

Social networking sites like Facebook have become a platform for expressing grief and sharing sympathy. These spontaneous expressions of mourning bring people together, virtually, to share stories about the honoree, poems, photos, music, and even video.

If someone dies, what happens to his or her Facebook page? If Facebook is notified that a user is dead, they may memorialize the user's account. This means that friends and family are allowed to write on the honoree's Wall in remembrance. To close the account, Facebook needs a formal request from the user's next of kin or other proper legal request.*

* Facebook Privacy Policy (June 2011)

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Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition
By Peggy Post
Peggy Post