Given a first exposure to these phenomena and experiences: what kind of “netiquette” or guidelines for ethically appropriate behavior regarding death online can you develop?
Minimally, such a netiquette would suggest: when to post what information about a death?
It would further be sensitive to: the kind of death involved – e.g., accident, suicide, victim of terror, disease … – as these different circumstances entail different possibilities of response from appropriate family members and authorities, diverse sensitivities (e.g., we may regard a suicide as a far more private and personal form of death than to be a victim of an accident or terror?) and so on.
Our ethical and social responses will also vary depending on what venue(s) our online postings and communication take place in, beginning with: more open (e.g., a relatively open SNS profile) ← → more closed (e.g., a specific closed group)
A netiquette would further provide us guidelines as to what kinds of responses are most appropriate and when, e.g.:
Heartfelt expressions of solidarity from close friends and family vis-à- vis more polite expressions of condolences by more distant friends, etc.
Such a netiquette would seem to need to differentiate with whom do I communicate/share when s/he has experienced the loss I have experienced – e.g., the bereaved mother in our example above?
Last, but certainly not least: all of this is, of course, highly culturally variable, as our beliefs, attitudes, practices, etc., concerning death vary widely from culture to culture. A complete netiquette would not only provide guidelines to the above sort of factors within a given culture: more ambitiously, it would also offer guidance for what is appropriate across the diverse cultures interwoven on any given SNS profile and communication medium.