LinkedIn And The Afterlife

Most of us understand that like taxes, death is inevitable.  And thanks to the ever-updating nature of social media, online contact with the dead is something new to deal with…and, may I add, which takes some getting used to.

I’ve had the unnerving experience recently of being contacted by friends who have died, or so it appeared.  News of their passing was posted on the deceased’s own Facebook pages…pages which became memorial sites where friends sent them messages.

What’s weirder is when long-gone friends actually do write you from beyond.  One site,, enables programming post-mortem messages, triggered by your actual passing, and described here.

If that sounds extreme, at least learn now how to shut down your own social media pages and those of key executives and spokespeople in your company, post-passing. For one friend who died, but whose profile was still connecting to others, LinkedIn requested a death certificate or article about his death. Because his death had been a much-publicized suicide, I had many links to share, and they finally shut it down.

Although not  many states have laws, yet, to cover this phenomenon, include posting the news of an employee’s passing on your site, and sharing that link with LinkedIn in your crisis plan . Posting and then sending an online obituary to the key social networks would work also…which could be quite a few for your social media team.

Individual employees can proactively plan for this and not leave it to friends or employers to handle. Including a list of pages and passwords along with their will is one easy solution.  Corporate account pages and passwords for key individuals in the company should be part of the employee file. The various sites’ pro-active requirements and recommendations for shutting down profiles after death are provided here.

I hear groaning…and get it. Just one more category of things for people to manage. In this case, however, know that the consequences of not doing anything could be that they will eventually take care of themselves, depending on the site. We may not live forever, but in some cases,  our social media pages will.

BK boat shot

Contributing author, Barbara Kotsos, last seen alive and well, as witnessed by equally-live friends while cruising along the shores of Long Beach, CA.

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