It’s going to happen one of these days: A friend, family member, co-worker, drug dealer, or some other kind of acquaintance of yours is going to die unexpectedly. But unlike previous generations, whose deaths would generally be memorialized by a small faction of immediate family members and friends, people dying today have a place that mere acquaintances can express their grief: Facebook pages. When a “friend” of yours – the term being used loosely here as someone that you have befriended on the social network, not necessarily someone who you would actually consider your friend – you will feel obligated to write on their Wall, which has now become an impromptu online memorial to them. Follow these simple rules and you won’t look like an asshole. Rule Number 1: Don’t “Like” anything. In a physical memorial service, if someone goes to the podium and says a few heartfelt words about their lost friend, the correct thing to do is sit quietly and nod your head in quiet acknowledgement while you contemplate the friend you have lost. The correct thing to do is not stand up and give that person a giant thumbs up. There’s really nothing to “like” about this whole thing. If you have nothing to say, just shut up and move on.
Rule Number 2: Leave your religion out of it. Think your friend is going to end up in heaven singing with a choir of angels while God grins in a downward boastful jest while the devil smacks his red forehead, self-imposed punishment over another soul he lost? Awesome. Problem is, there’s most likely a good percentage of people who are going to be visiting their Facebook page that don’t feel this way. It would be like an atheist friend commenting: “He lived a truly full life before finally succumbing to the quiet and complete nothingness that we all inevitably face.” I have a feeling any religious folks wouldn’t take too kindly to that sentiment. Oh, and don’t try that “they’re in a better place” bullshit either. We all know that’s just code for “heaven”. Rule Number 3: Why not run it through Spellcheck one more time? This is going to be on their page for quite some time, so while we’re at it, let’s go ahead and leave out all of the shortened slang the kids these days are using. No LOLs or JKs or pluralizing words by throwing a “Z” on the end of it. And especially don’t use any TTYLs. Because you won’t. Ever.
Rule Number 4: Leave their family member’s Wall alone. If a friend of yours has a relative or close fried who died – someone you personally know yourself, death by two degrees – the temptation will be to tell your friend how sorry you are. This is a fine thing to do and shows that you’re a good friend. However, doing this on your friend’s Wall, where anyone else can see, all you’re really trying to do is show everyone how much pain you’re feeling and what a swell person you are. In other words, this is all about you and you’re just throwing a lure out there to try and catch a pity fuck. You are an awful human being. How about you offer your condolences in person, over the phone, or hell, even through a personal message? Any of those are completely acceptable. Rule Number 5: Don’t touch their MySpace page. No one’s going to read that anyway.
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