Marijane Funess June 21, 2013 | 07:09:52

Beyond Traditional PR – Death Goes Digital

Sadly, this has been a week of loss, both for me personally and in the entertainment world, as we said goodbye way too early to the tremendous actor James Gandolfini.

It made me reflect on how we mourn. So-called deathcare is experiencing its “15 minutes” as the industry uses social sharing to make funerals and conversations about death a more acceptable part of life. Funerals have always generated “buzz” via newspaper obits and calendar listings, – built-in PR since the dawn of newspaper publishing. But recently the “death business” has come out of the social media closet.

Case in point, a recent funeral not only featured the now-standard online guest book, but the entire service was streamed live for friends and family who couldn’t attend. Additionally, for attendees who wanted to check in on any others already buried at the cemetery, there was an online registry of grave markers and Google maps to locate exactly the spot.

In fact, much of the business of death is online, from downloadable obituary templates to casket shopping. Facebook also makes it easy to memorialize someone on their page and live on long after their passing.

The industry even has “event planners” to ensure your guests have the ultimate funeral experience. If you’re already planning your own farewell – from the music and flowers to the dress code – there’s an app for that. Just check out iFuneral.

Finally, ask yourself how you shared your shock about the untimely passing of James Gandolfini. Twitter? Text? Facebook? After all, births, weddings and other important life moments are online; why not funerals?

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