“You Shouldn’t Have Posted That On Facebook!”

Have you ever been told “You shouldn’t have posted that on Facebook.”? Did you not understand why somebody would think what you posted was inappropriate? Welcome to the fight between those who are connected and those who aren’t. In this fight, there are those who adapt with technology, and those who get left behind.

If I could get sad just for a moment here… Recently, my father passed away. Unfortunately cancer took him from us way too early. After spending an early afternoon in tears. I felt a need to post “R.I.P. Dad” on Facebook. To me it was a message to him, not just friends on Facebook. I got it out there and it made me feel better. It also let others know of his passing, which had been expected for a while.

I thought nothing of this post until the next morning when I received a call from my cousin saying “That is not a very personal way to mourn.” Not only does this strike me as bizarre that somebody would think Facebook isn’t a way to communicate such things, it strikes me as bizarre that somebody would call to tell me how to mourn the loss of my father.

My cousin will never understand this though. It’s people like this who think of the Internet as a toy. To them, the Internet is only a thing people use in their spare time. But to people such as myself who are connected, we use it as an extension of our life. Why wouldn’t I post something about the most important event in my life right now?

I understand there are some things that shouldn’t be said online. Bullying, saying something negative about your boss, or anything that may get you into trouble should be avoided. But when it comes to things like death, it’s no longer taboo to use technology to communicate. Heck, I haven’t even gotten a call from friends or family regarding my father’s death. They have all emailed, texted, or posted their condolences on Facebook, and that’s perfectly alright with me.

From my post on Facebook, I have been showered with love and inspiring guidance during this rough time. I appreciate all of it. I feel bad for the people who don’t get it though, the ones who can’t learn to accept the Internet and social networking as a tool that enriches your life, no matter the scenario.

Published by Mitch Bartlett

I've been doing things on the Internet since 1994. Former dot-com era IT guy. Currently I provide technical solutions to people for fun and test software for a growing software company.

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16 Comments

  1. You’re right on. Personally, I think that call from your cousin was a bit rude and insensitive. You can mourn how you choose and posting a Facebook message in remembrance of a loved one is perfectly acceptable in my book.

    I’m sorry for your loss, Mitch.

  2. I remember the first time I saw someone post their mourning on Facebook, and thinking it was a bit odd too. I didn’t see Facebook as something that people took seriously. (and I’m in the generation of kids who grew up with it!)

    Last year, I lost my best friend, and before I could even post something on Facebook, I had messages from friends offering their condolences, and many of our classmates changed their statuses to ones commemorating the loss. Eventually I did post something, because I felt people should know that there was this large happening in my life, but even then I had reservations. As a rather private person living in an extremely connected age, I wondered about sharing my personal grief with the hundreds of Facebook “friends” who I knew only as acquaintances. It wasn’t about being “connected” or seeing the internet as a toy. It was about having a barrier between those people in my circle who really cared about me and those who weren’t so invested.

  3. I agree with your cousin. Would it be OK if a relative or close family friend texted, e-mailed, Facebook messaged, etc., their condolences instead of bothering to show up at the funeral or wake? I love the internet and practically live in “the cloud” but Facebook and Twitter are only destined to make us as a people more divided and separate. Instant communication, while nice, will never replace that feeling you get from hearing the voice of someone who cares for you, or knowing that you were more important to them than a 5-10 second message. “There is more to life than simply increasing it’s speed.” – Ghandi

  4. Mitch I completely agree with you in regards to what is acceptable to post online! I am sorry about your loss with your father and in it is great that you got such love and support from your friends. I am assuming your cousin is older and the two of you think completely differently about certain topics!

    Rafael Rodrigues

  5. I agree with other comment. Any Personal Life Experience we go through, is just that, “Personal”. It is your personal choice to share it publically or not. Recently I was married and some friends and family heard it first on Facebook. Sounds like tour cousin was hurting too so I’d give him a break. To each his own I say.

  6. @Travis – I actually would prefer a message on Facebook rather than nothing at all. I’m not sure what you mean by Twitter or Facebook making people more divided. I have connected and re-connected with hundreds of people using these networks. Many of my connections I wouldn’t be able to have a beer with and hear the voices of had it not been for Twitter of Facebook.

    You my friend are one of the people who don’t get it.

    1. @amirul – Actually, the people who I am less connected with in my life probably won’t contact me using any other method than Facebook. I just don’t see certain people bothering to call. That’s just fine with me too.

  7. Mitch, what you did was right. From you. And that’s all that matters.
    When a friend of mine died unexpectedly her partner took it even further: Her daughter called me to let me know & asked me to continue sending jokes to her mother’s email address; as her partner so enjoyed them & felt that, in a small way, it kept her alive for him. Her Facebook presence is also still there & family and friends post thoughts about her there, even though she is no longer here in the flesh. I don’t find that weird at all. Just rather charming, in fact.

  8. Mitch, I am with most all the rest of the people. I think you did right. When a person hurts, there are many different ways they show it. If it helped you by writing about it, then what harm did it do? I am sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers. God bless

  9. My Facebook account and personal website are pretty much focused on my struggle with grief. People say a lot of stupid, mostly well-meaning things to people who are grieving, but I’ve never had anyone tell me my online expressions are inappropriate or impersonal. I’m sorry someone said this to you.

    If I post memories or sadness or photos on Facebook, it provides so many connections with people who take the time to comment and reminisce. I think it’s a perfect dynamic for people who don’t know what to say but want to let you know they’re listening and they care. Without these online gathering places, I would probably have felt long ago that people were forgetting so soon about this person I love.

    I’m sorry for your loss, Mitch.

  10. Hmm. Interesting conversation.

    I agree that the way someone grieves is a personal thing. I’m not saying that every form of grieving is healthy, but that it is personal. Perhaps your cousin is grieving too and that isn’t how he would show it, but like someone said, you may want to give him some slack.

    I don’t have any problems sharing my grief online. It is a way of expressing yourself and for those not as close to share in the grief.

    One thing to be careful of is that you may want to make personal contact with people close to the deceased so they don’t have to find out via Facebook. Not to say that is the case here, just saying.

  11. I really don’t even know how I came across this page. I am really sorry for the loss of your father. The last you mentioned anything to me was in a pretty random im. I really hope all is well with you now – it sounds like you’re happy with life even if you never did make it back to Chicago. 😉

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