SS4URLS TTYL (So sorry for your loss, talk to you later)

by M-Gillies

SMS traffic is supposed to break 8 trillion messages this year, more than a trillion more than in 2010. It’s no wonder places like the Emily Post Institute have begun developing guidelines for messaging etiquette for all life situations.

In an era where technology is an enormous factor in our daily lives – from utilizing computers for work, essay writing, networking and communicating – our social connection has been separated in physical ways, but has been increased internationally.

With the funeral industry now adopting the trends of technology, offering webcam filmed funerals as a method of bridging the distance between family members across the country, one question lingers unansweredÖ

Is it impolite to text, instant message or send an email condolence?

There are a number of ways to avoid the slow delivery of information from one person to another, and while picking up the phone and calling someone may seem impersonal; mailed letters and cards cannot be guaranteed to arrive on time, if at all, technology has been turned to for reliability and convenience.

Whether it be an email, SMS, text or instant message, the options are increasingly readily available. Sure, while sending a message to someone after they have lost a loved one may seem like an informal, if not an inappropriate way of addressing the topic, modern technology has seemingly blurred the lines of what is proper and what isn’t. However, that doesn’t mean that proper etiquette shouldn’t be addressed when sending a condolence message.

Before writing a digital condolence message, the following questions should be asked in regards to proper etiquette:

1. When will you see the person next?

2. Why are you sending the message?


3. Where might the person be when they receive the message?


4. Who else might see or receive the message?


5. What else could you do instead of emailing or texting the message?


6. How would you react if you received the message you are planning to send?


Furthermore, when sending a condolence message, there are some minor things to include before sending that information. While technology has taught us a new form of language through text speak, sending a condolence with dropped vowels or abbreviated sentences isn’t necessarily the most compassionate means of expressing your condolences.

Instead, it is best to ensure that the following are included:

1. Acknowledgement of the loss;


2. Expression of sympathy;


3. A brief memory of the deceased;


4. Mention special qualities of the deceased or bereaved;


5. Conclude with a meaningful and thoughtful word or phrase.

And in case it needs mentioning:

If you’re adamant about sending an electronic condolence, be sure to include a meaningful subject line, to help clarify the contents of the message and not take the recipient by surprise. Open the email with a greeting, use standard spelling, punctuation and DON’T CAPITALIZE BECAUSE THEN THE VOICE IN THE READERS HEAD STARTS SCREAMING AT THEMand no one wants to be yelled at when they’re grieving.

It’s best to be direct and to the point with electronic condolences – you don’t need to babble on about how you got a promotion and how things are going fantastic with you, and that you got a raise at your job but nearly lost some fingers while working the table saw. Write clear, short paragraphs that are friendly and cordial – and jokes should be avoided as the tone of electronic messages is often hard to decipher.

When you finish your electronic message, provide your contact information, mailing address, phone numbers, but don’t use the electronic message as an excuse to avoid personal contact because sad people put a damper on your day; there’s a certain degree of emotional value when it comes to face-to-face or even voice-to-voice communication.

Finally, the most important thing to remember is that whether it is a text message, an instant message or an email – these forms of electronic messaging are instantaneous – a certain degree of consideration and sincerity should be considered before sending anything as a condolence.

Read more:

E-Mail Condolences Become Funeral Trend | redOrbit

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