Etiquette of Blogging About Funerals

Apr 25, 2011 | 4 comments

In yesterday’s Albuquerque Journal, the Ask Thelma column by Thelma Domenici had a question that went to the heart of my 30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge.

Dear Thelma:

I was wondering if you know of proper etiquette regarding individuals who attend funeral or memorial services and then blog or YouTube about it without notifying or contacting family members. What do you think about that type of action or behavior?


The etiquette here does not rest upon the use of technology, but upon how it is used. Technology is as mannerly as its users make it.

Publication accurately describes what blogs and YouTube do. Publication of something as intense and emotional as the painful loss of a family’s loved one should be done with care and forethought. Such publication without consulting or informing the family of the person who has died does show a lack of respect and it should be avoided.

I’d like to stress that blogs and YouTube are not to blame. This kind of technology is so easy to use and is an effective way to reach so many very efficiently. The key is to learn to use it with respect and always with the receiver of the message in mind.

Warm-hearted technology and good manners never go out of style.

I know Thelma and checked with her that it would be okay to post this Q&A. I had a feeling that the author was referring to me and the 30 funerals I attended and blogged about with YouTube videos during November, 2010. The funerals attended were all advertised in the newspaper’s paid obituary section, making them public events.

Many people found the posts by searching for obituaries of the folks whose services I had written about. Almost all the feedback on these posts was positive. Families thanked me for the additional unexpected tribute to their loved ones.

Out of all those memorial events, there was one woman who asked me to remove the post about her mother’s quite lovely and moving memorial service. I apologized and removed the post immediately after receiving her request. Could she still be brooding about this six months later?

My intention was to show the many ways people honor their loved ones, and to help people consider how pre-planning can help those who live on to hold a good goodbye ritual. What do you think about the etiquette of blogging about funerals?

A Good Goodbye