Despite the option of putting a deceased Facebook user’s account into memorial mode (and necessity, to avoid suggestions to “reconnect”), Facebook is for the living. That’s okay. Social media sites weren’t intended to handle death, and only years after their inceptions recognized the dilemma and developed related policies, as Kim’s last post explains.
But now there’s 1000Memories, a no-fee, ad-free site specifically designed to bring together family and friends to share photos and stories and even undertake charity projects in a loved one’s name. While not a social media site per se — it’s reasonable to suspect that over time the memorial pages will stabilize and become more or less static — pages are the product of user-supplied content and interaction, including commenting on others’ contributions.
But even without sustained interaction (which certainly may happen), the collaborative nature of the memorials offers evocative possibilities. Not only can far-flung friends and family come together virtually to remember a loved one, it gathers in a range of voices that piece together a multifaceted life. Memories through the eyes — and in the words — of a young grandchild will be much different from those of a spouse or old fishing buddy, and it is precisely this variation, provided enough people participate, that can make the memorials so rich.
Also, significantly — the site is gorgeous, and nothing breeds confidence like good design. Unlike so many new web startups, 1000Memories gets a huge Win with actually showing what the product does before you create an account, with a few examples available to explore.
According to the Terms of Service, “Privacy settings are administered on a per memorial basis and site administrators are able to set and adjust the privacy as relevant.” Sounds reasonable. Non-private pages are also indexed and discoverable on the open web, and purportedly available “forever” — imagine the boon it could provide for genealogists, now or in the future (or lazy This American Life interns, looking for story leads).
Also stated: “Persons establishing memorials agree not to restrict the right of any legal next of kin to assume or share administrative responsibilities and fully participate in memorials established.” Yikes. Yes. 1000Memories must tread the ground of family feud craziness and black sheep.
I’d like to see a base-line bio page with general information — birthplace, education and career milestones, possibly a family tree — editable by all or in the hands of the memorial administrator, with links to the deceased’s personal blogs and other social media identities. Naturally this could be contentious — while such sites are often easily findable anyway, you may never intend your ultraconservative/-liberal relatives to read your opposing-view political rants or other sticky revelations of heart and mind. Additionally, linked sites may not remain into perpetuity, though some sort of archival mechanism would also be slick. Nonetheless, including such content would be a way to further draw in a person’s life, and in their own words.
Check out a short interview from TechCrunch with two of the co-founders, Brett Huneycutt and Rudy Adler:
We’ll be keeping our eyes on this one!