Police informs woman of son’s death via Facebok

The website Mashable reported the case of a woman, Anna, who lost her son in a car accident – the twist being that police contacted Anna to let her know about the accident via Facebook. The article is available here.

It is true that social media can be used very effectively in emergencies – for instance, think about the role of social media during Hurricane Sandy. Moreover, as our own research shows, social media users are less and less uncomfortable about interacting with organisations on websites like Facebook. But contacting a mother to tell her about the loss of a son via Facebook?! That seems a step too far.

But, then, our online behaviours have changed so much in just a couple of years. Now, we post pictures of our meals, we feel compelled to share the experiences we live, and we create memorial pages on Facebook. Maybe it won’t be long before it is normal for police to reach out to you via Facebook. What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Police informs woman of son’s death via Facebok

  1. Hmm. As you know, I’m a big fan and user of social media. From Facebook and Twitter to blogs via Instagram and Foursquare. However, some things are simply better dealt with face-to-face. Conveying a message like this is hard, but I would assume that police officers tasked with it, are also trained in dealing with shock and grief. I guess the important part of telling someone her son died in an accident, is the assessment whether she can deal with it on her own, or that she needs to have someone there until others close to her can come to support her. That is, I think, hard to do through Facebook. It’s all about understanding what you want to achieve, and then finding the best tools to do it.

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    1. At the moment, I feel that Facebook is not a suitable platform for this sort of message. But, then, I never imagined myself informing the world every time I come back from a run. We are strange creatures…

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