Digital Communications and Memorials

Is social media and other digital communication the best way to communicate sensitive topics? If a loved one died, would you tweet it, notify by email, text, or phone… or stick to face-to-face communication?

In 2012, we conducted our original survey to find out, and this year we updated our data to visualize how the internet is changing (and even enhancing) your ability to celebrate a beautiful life.

The survey polled 100 adults from all over the US to find out how they would communicate about the death of a loved one and how they would like to be memorialized in the digital age.

2017 Memorial Survey Results:

Comparing Evolving Trends in Death and Memorials.

The following compares our 2017 Memorial Survey data to our original 2012 survey.

How do you communicate the news of a loved one’s death?

  2017 Results 2012 Results
Phone 90% 90%
Text 43% 25%
eMail 39% 42%
Facebook 40% 27%
In Person 77% 13%


Interesting to note that as we become more accepting of technology in our daily lives, more people opt for communicating about the death of a loved one by phone or in person.

How would you inform others of the funeral date and location?

  2017 2012
Phone 84% 91%
Text 53% 38%
eMail 57% 71%
Facebook 43% 29%

How would you memorialize your loved one at the funeral?

  2017 2012
With a well-written eulogy 71% 67%
Using a photo collage 71% 76%
A memory guest book 46% 55%
An online memory guest book 18% 24%
Video tribute 34% 40%
  • In 2017, 16% had attended a funeral that was video taped vs. 11% in 2012.
  • 4% of participants attended a funeral via an internet broadcast in 2012 vs. only 1% in 2017.

What type of obituary would you prefer that your friends and/or family use for your service?

  2017 2012
Traditional newspaper obituary 47% 55%
Dedicated memorial website 6% 2.3%
Funeral home website obituary 14% 10.3%
Memorial Facebook profile 14% 9%
All of the Above 20% 23%

What aspect of you funeral would you prefer that your friends/family spend the most money on?

  2017 2012
A very nice casket 2% 2%
A very nice burial plot and gravestone 10% 11%
A large memorial party 18% 18%
A unique send off 7% 7%
Nothing, I don’t want my funeral to be extravagant or expensive 63% 62%


The desire for an economic funeral held true over the past 5 years. In 2017, 68% would prefer cremation (a more economic alternative to burial) over burial, slightly higher than the 2012 survey (62%).

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