Funerals are a time to remember loved ones and say a heartfelt goodbye, not draw attention to yourself. Still, some people do exactly that. Just because you're all dressed up doesn't mean a #funeralselfie is warranted.
Photo by ambernaeye.
Denis Desrochers, a prominent funeral director from Quebec, talked about the funeral selfie issue on Radio-Canada's Gravel le Matin. Desrochers explained that he and his colleagues in the industry were having a hard time educating people about proper funeral behaviour, and mentioned funeral selfies as one of the prime examples of poor etiquette.
His main concern is that of the families, who usually don't want to see those types of photos on social media since they're a constant reminder of their loss. It's also a bit disrespectful, as these types of photos are generally in poor taste. If you don't believe me, check out the now defunct Selfies at Funerals Tumblr.
When Melonyce McAfee at CNN chatted with etiquette expert Lizzie Post of the Emily Post Institute about the issue, she was aghast that people were turning times of mourning into photo shoots. Post explained that most people don't want their photos taken on those days, in a group setting or otherwise, and that a selfie is definitely inappropriate:
I don't find it appropriate that you're making the cute faces and duck lips and hashtagging it #funeral. "'On-my-way-to-the-funeral-selfie' Here's what I wore, don't I look fantastic?" You know it's not about you, it's about the deceased, so can you back down on the selfies for the moment?
Post suggests many of the offenders in these situations are young people - some who have never been to funeral before - and that may explain why it happens to begin with. But since camera tech gets more and more mobile, and social media continues to dominate many people's lives, this issue should be addressed. Everyone, young and old, need to know that snapping a "#Sad" funeral selfie is flat out selfish.
In an ideal world, maybe you'd love to spend a large portion of your free time attending the weddings, birthdays and other life cycle events of your nearest and dearest. But life, work, and geographical boundaries often get in the way, making it a tricky a proposition to attend every single milestone event for every single close friend and family member.
As Dr Mark Taubert, a palliative care doctor who specialises in grief and social media, explains to Tech Insider, funeral selfies bring attention to yourself and take it away from the deceased. The point of a funeral is that it's about the life of the person who died, not, as Taubert puts it, about your "digital update".
It's possible that funeral selfies are just part of the modern grieving process in our post-everything-online world, but Taubert suggests there's a more tasteful way to grieve digitally. Instead of sharing a selfie of you frowning at a funeral, go with a text-only message that expresses your love for the deceased or offers comfort to others.