The formation and understanding of memory construction has always been of great interest to scholars. Although memory itself is often unreliable, being vulnerable to manipulation and interpretation, it is one of the most influential aspects in our perception of historical events and social development. In a time where mass media has entered almost every aspect of our daily life, memory has become a product of the masses (see citizen media). The media has become one of the most influential factors in controlling how a person, or groups of people, both remember and are remembered. Digital social networking tools, such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and YouTube, have become permanent servers for personal memories. They allow us to document our social histories as they happen, connecting and influencing our own collective memory formation.
After a loved one passes, these online tools have allowed for a new digital form of memory construction. Through a combination of personal interviews, Internet research, and a detailed content analysis of memorial pages, I will examine how Facebook memorials have, through the virtual sharing of grief, become living sites of memory. They provide a new framework for individuals to unite, forming distinct memory communities where individual memories can join together to create a permanently documented collective memory of the deceased.
This website is divided into two main sections: Literature Review and What is a Facebook Memorial?. Although there are a number of both internal and external links, for the purposes of clarity, the different pages are intended to be read in the order indicated by the left navigation bar, beginning with Literature Review.