It has become more common for some people to share news about the passing of a loved one on social media. For many, this may be the first place they learn this information, and they wonder what the most appropriate response is. When so much communication takes place on social media, how do you offer your condolences on social media?


Tips to Offering Condolences on Social Media

In general, when offering your condolences, it is important to be sensitive and respectful to the person who is grieving. Social media is no different. Show your support in a genuine way. Here are a few tips to help.

  • Simplicity and sincerity can go a long way. A few kind words can really help.
  • Focus on the person grieving rather than yourself.
  • Be mindful of the communication method chosen. If the person has a private profile, keep your support private as well rather than publicly posting in response.
  • Grief is personal. Consider ways to offer support over unsolicited advice.
  • Limit use of exclamation marks and other emoticons to not be misinterpreted as lighthearted

Often people ask if they can use the reaction buttons on certain social media sites to respond. This is a personal decision, and it is important to ensure you select an appropriate one. For instance, click the heart vs. accidentally selecting the laughter reaction.


Does the Social Media Site Adjust How I Should Respond?

Overall, the basic principles of offering condolences across social media platforms remain the same, you may choose to express your condolences slightly differently based on how each platform is used and how the loss is communicated.

On Facebook, for example, longer messages tend to be more common than in other platforms when posted on one’s timeline. Alternatively, you may private message someone on Facebook when reading the post.  Twitter on the other hand requires a shorter message in response based on the design of the platform.

Instagram, a platform designed around photo sharing, may be an opportunity to respond by posting a photo and writing a condolence as a caption if the person has publicly shared the news.

On LinkedIn, you may choose to send a private message or focus your response on the impact the person made to your career, your company, or your industry.

Across social media platforms, it is important to understand site guidelines.
Ultimately, be respectful and mindful of the person who is grieving. Offer support in a way that feels appropriate and genuine to them.

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Further Reading
Sympathy Messages
Condolence Gifts