Online memorials are found in website, blog and social networking page formats, and they are places where people congregate (via the Internet) in order to honor the memory of those who have passed on. In the digital age, online memorials offer people all over the world convenient and practical ways to show their love and respect for deceased friends, family and loved ones.
While online memorials do not replace more conventional methods of expressing grief and sharing memories, such as funerals, wakes and memorials (which usually take place in local communities), they do serve an important purpose, by allowing people who may not be able to get together easily to share feelings and thoughts (which are related to special people who have died). Therefore, these types of digital memorials are becoming more popular these days.
In addition, strangers may use online memorials in order to pay their respects. For example, if a local policeman was killed in the line of duty, his heroism and sacrifice (for the sake of his community and fellow citizens) may be honored by strangers (as well as friends and family) via online memorials.
Online Memorials May be Simple or Quite Elaborate
These websites, blogs or social networking posts may be simple and basic or quite elaborate. Web design may be commissioned from professionals, and it may include graphics, pictures, fancy lettering, music and video. However, all of these elements will not appear in every online memorial.
The most common interface for this type of memorial will include plenty of space for comments from friends and loved ones. It is quite typical for friends or loved ones of a deceased person to write paragraphs that retell precious memories. Posts left by visitors to online memorials may vary in tone. Some may feature humor, as funny and lighthearted stories from the past are told, while others will express the more painful and poignant elements of grief.
These online memorials may become hubs where those affected by the deaths of special people in their lives (or strangers who’ve touched their hearts in some way) may come together in order to feel closer to the deceased.
History of Online Memorials
These types of memorials began to appear during the latter years of the 1990s. However, at this point, they were quite rare. The first examples of online memorials were often made in response to the demise of individuals who had received plenty of attention in the mass media, rather than for typical private citizens who had not experienced fame and fanfare while they lived.
As time passed, online memorials became more commonplace, and they would be used to honor those who had received media attention while alive, along with increasing numbers of deceased private citizens. Today, even pets or fictional characters may receive online memorials.
Typical Components of Online Memorials
Typical components of online memorials include photographs, social media sharing buttons, comment fields, and biographies. The person or persons who developed the website may also write content about thoughts and feelings related to a loved one’s passing. While there are no hard and fast rules with regard to which design elements must be present, photographs and comments, along with information about the deceased person, are par for the course.
In some cases, fund-raising elements may also be present. For example, if a deceased woman died of breast cancer, her friends and loved one might collect money for this cause via the online memorial. This type of fundraising is also very common when a person who was famous passes away. For example, a celebrity’s battle with a disease may have garnered plenty of media attention; therefore, an online memorial that collects funds which will be used to find a cure may receive many donations. In this sense, online memorials are vehicles for social change.
Duration of Online Memorials
These types of memorials may be online for just a while, or they may become permanent fixtures on the World Wide Web. Websites that feature online memorials will need some funding periodically, in order to cover the host of web hosting fees. Online memorials found on free blogs or social networking pages will require no cash outlay or periodic expenses. Therefore, they are quite likely to stay online for long periods of time. How long an online memorial remains online really depends on the people who created it.