Why the Standard Obituary is Dead (And What You Can Do About It)

A few years ago, a longtime friend of mine passed away, and I was asked to write his obituary. Taking the time to reflect on the life of this quirky, rebellious, anti-income tax activist (and tax consultant!) was a powerful experience. It felt good, and I was pleased with the end result.

But then we discovered that neither of us could afford to have it published by either of the major newspapers, the San Jose Mercury or the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

I ended up turning to our local paper, the Press Banner, which publishes obituaries for free, as a community service. So, at least a few people were able to read of this man’s contributions to the greater good. But not as many as we had hoped – all those he knew in the San Jose area had to be called, or emailed, with the news.  It was a tiresome, often heartbreaking, task for his widow and her children.

The Bottom Line

Today’s families expect more than a spot in a newspaper that simply fades into oblivion with the next day’s edition. They want their loved one’s story told and shared in a way that truly memorializes the life lived.

The ways we notify our families and friends of a death have changed. Technology has adapted to the new communication habits of today’s families, who aren’t necessarily hanging around at home reading the local newspaper and waiting for the phone to ring. Instead, they are finding information and communicating online more than ever before.

If you’ve lost a loved one recently, you probably used social media to memorialize that person in some way (even if it’s just a Facebook status). In fact, 30% of Facebook posts concern death.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could help your families share the legacy of their loved ones? Thanks to a new funeral home website feature – social memorial websites – you can.

What is a Social Memorial Website?

A social memorial website is a place for friends and family to gather and create a dynamic, deeply personal tribute to their loved one. This permanent memorial becomes a place for your families and their future generations to visit to share memories and honor the life their love one lived.


A good social memorial website offers:

    • • A tribute wall where family and friends can share memories or write a condolence
    • • The ability to light a virtual candle or send a virtual gift in honor of the deceased
    • • The option to share and post photos and videos in memory of the loved one
    • • A family tree that friends and family can add to
    • • Access to share the memorial on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter
    • • An online store where friends, family and members of the community can purchases flowers, sympathy gifts, or cards without leaving the website
    • • The deceased’s obituary and funeral service information
    • • Email integration that allows families to easily share the news about their loved one


Can you imagine how much easier this would have made things for my friend’s widow? No more dialing, leaving messages, or retelling the same stories over and over again.

Why Social Memorial Websites Can’t be Ignored

With over 800 million active Facebook users, and over 500 million using Twitter, it’s evident your families use online communication to stay connected.

When your funeral home website can actually embrace new traditions based on how people interact digitally with social memorial websites, you’ve really done something special for your families.

Recently, Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, commented on the power of social media at a time of loss. She experienced a death in her family, and explained that sharing her grandmother’s obituary online “made me feel connected to people in a time when I really needed that connection.”

The tried and true (now tired and overpriced) standard print obituary could never have done that, even in the golden years.

Help your families share the memories of their loved one by providing social memorials with the f1Connect website platform. It’s the first all-in-one, socially-driven website solution designed to meet the needs and expectations of today’s families. Click here to learn more.


Do you have something to add to the conversation about the end of the standard obituary? Leave your comments below!

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