Social media has completely upended the Internet, and these days, more people are connecting to sites and Web businesses through social media friends and contacts than they are through other media channels. But as more people are adopting social media (one of the fastest growing age groups on Facebook is the 55+ segment), questions are arising as to how to handle delicate situations, like the death of a loved one, which is difficult enough on its own but can be particularly disconcerting when that individual's Facebook account is still up and active. Do you simply deactivate that person's account? Save the pictures? Post on the wall to notify friends? (I'm making myself sad...)
One startup, 1000memories, is taking a unique approach to the death and social media by creating a Wikipedia-like platform where multiple users can memorialize a loved one by uploading pictures, videos, or sharing stories. The startup announced Wednesday that it has raised $2.5 million in a Series A round led by Greylock Ventures, along with a select team of angels, including Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, former Ancestry.com COO Craig Sherman, Ron Conway, Keith Rabois, Mike Maples, Paul Buchheit, Chris Sacca, Ben Ling, Aydin Senkut, and others. Additionally, Greylock partner David Thacker will be joining the startup's board of directors.
The YCombinator backed startup provides what it calls a "much needed 'past tense' for the Internet" by allowing users to make meaningful memorial pages without having to pay a fee or get bombarded by ads. Like a Wikipedia page, other users can contribute photos, videos, or stories to make the page a sort of virtual wake for the social media era. Or the page can be set to private so that only select individuals can contribute content.
Users have a similar option to memorialize a loved one's account on Facebook so that the status update section is frozen while pictures and other media uploads remain, but 1000memories makes a couple of unique promises that differentiates it from Facebook. Firstly, the startup promises permanence, meaning you can create a page and it will never get cleaned out or vanish in a crash. The company claims to be able to do this by using Amazon server space, which is renowned for its unique durability and flexibility (designed to keep from getting overloaded by shoppers during peak holiday shopping seasons). Additionally, 1000memories promises to keep the service ad-free (you probably wouldn't bring a Redbull banner to a real wake...but I don't speak for everyone).
The site also offers other features like the chance to create a "Project," which allows friends and relatives to donate to a cause or charity in memory of the deceased loved one.
The company recently created a memory wall to commemorate those who have died in the Egyptian demonstrations, which you can see here.
Image source: 1000memories.com