The Power of Social Media - Case Study: Getting Myrtle the Turtle Back Home

On Friday night, May 19, 2017, the Weathersfield School (@GoWeathersfield) Twitter page tagged @ConejoJoe asking that I share a photo of a turtle found at the school.

I retweeted the post on my Twitter page.

I retweeted the post on my Twitter page.

And then I decided to also to post the photo on the CVG Facebook page, which at the time had over 13,000 followers and a lot more interaction than Twitter.


Sure enough, comments started rolling in with suggestions…non-profit animal rescue, “we can give him a home,” “I remember someone posting a missing turtle on a neighborhood board,” etc.  There were 18 comments and 14 shares. Not viral, but apparently enough to get the attention of its owner, Paula Nathan, who at 9:10AM the next day posted:


Given the turtle was found literally across the street from the owner’s home, without social media, perhaps signs posted around the neighborhood would eventually have reunited the owner with Myrtle the Turtle. But with the social media’s help, Myrtle’s owner was able to connect quickly with her turtle.

When I Pass Away Will My Social Media Presence Be Here to Stay?

Social media is still in its infancy. Facebook became available to everyone 13 and older on September 26, 2006. Twitter was launched for public use on July 15, 2006. LinkedIn was launched on May 5, 2003. But as the years pass, we will all eventually be faced with the question of what to do with our social media presence after our time is up.

Afterlife and Facebook

Do you want to stay on Facebook after you die? No? Well, perhaps the easiest solution is to give someone you trust your login information and have them permanently delete your account when you die. This can be done by clicking the account menu at the top of your Facebook page, pick Account Settings, click Security in the left-hand column, then click "Deactivate your account." Or perhaps more officially, make this request in your will.

The current Security Settings screen in Facebook as of December 2013

If you haven't planned for your afterlife Facebook page, your immediate family members or executor can still submit a special request to remove your account. Facebook will require a death certificate or other proof to do so.

Or you can also simply do nothing and continue having your presence be shown in Facebook. A good friend of mine passed in 2013 and his page is still up and running. In fact, many of his friends posted happy birthday messages on his page later in the year.

Lastly, your family, friends, even co-workers may make a Memorialization Request by submitting the deceased's email address and proof of death. The requestor reports the information under penalty of perjury. Facebook will not provide login information for the deceased's account.

When an account is memorialized, Facebook keeps the account information static. Friends can still post to the deceased's page (subject to the account's privacy settings). When a Facebook Timeline is memorialized, it does not show up in others'

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