Interestingly enough I said goodbye this year to 3 friends and one “acquaintance” on Facebook. Two high school friends passed away; one suddenly and one after weeks in a coma. One wonderful church friend passed after a short week with pneumonia and one acquaintance from the real estate world passed after losing a battle with brain cancer.
Now I understand I am getting older and chances are I will be saying goodbye to an increasing number of friends over the years. The truth, however, is if it had not been for Facebook I would not even have known of the passing of Stick Norwood or Kim Riggs, two friends from high school and I may or may not have known of the illness and passing of Joe Ferrara from my Real Estate world. In fact I would likely only have known of the passing of Sylvia Rhoden, my golden voiced friend of many decades.
What is the common denominator? They all left behind Facebook accounts that are still active. In fact, people still post to them. People includes me.
What is the fastest growing group on Facebook? One of the most surprising phenomena of 2010 is the encroachment of death onto Facebook. Just like Toy Story 3, the blissful youth of Facebook is suddenly faced with the passing of time and the first inklings of mortality. However, beyond the anecdote of an awkward experience, surprisingly few facts exist about the prevalence of death on social media. Is this an occasional curiosity or a looming tidal wave for which existing social media sites are unprepared?
We decided to do the math and estimate how many of these “social media ghosts” are living on long beyond their real-life equivalents.