Death and mourning as sources of community participation in online social networks: R.I.P. pages in Facebook

Abbe E. Forman, Rebecca Kern, Gisela Gil-Egui


Facebook is a place for people to connect and share; a place to form online communities and engage in discussion. Kern, et al. (2013) found that Facebook is also a place to commune with, and about, the dead in a public forum. Although most often mourning of a death is done privately within tight knit communities, online social networking sites and particularly Facebook R.I.P. pages are creating public participation in the memorialization of those who have passed. The present study examines Facebook R.I.P. pages as a catalyst for participation and creation of online communities. Gallant, et al. (2007) provided the framework for determining the depth of online community created by those who participate in the creation, maintenance, and involvement with Facebook R.I.P. pages. This study examines the Facebook R.I.P. pages using a content analysis to determine if indeed these pages represent online community as defined by Gallant, et al. The model created by Gallant, et al. includes the following heuristics used to define online community: interactive creativity, selective hierarchy, identity construction, rewards and costs, and artistic forms.


R.I.P.; Facebook; Death and Mourning

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